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Yarmouth falls silent to remember troops

PUBLISHED: 14:00 09 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:34 03 July 2010

The region fell silent yesterday as thousands of people turned out onto the streets to remember those who fought died while serving their country in global conflicts.

The region fell silent yesterday as thousands of people turned out onto the streets to remember those who fought died while serving their country in global conflicts.

A still, sunny day also played a part as countless people joined Remembrance Day services and parades to honour those who fell in past and present conflicts, and those who are putting their lives on the line today in Afghanistan.

The loss of six soldiers from the local Army base has brought the reality of war home to people in Dereham - and ensured the biggest turnout at a Remembrance Sunday parade in the town for many years.

Hundreds of people - from toddlers to second world war veterans - packed into the Market Place for a short open air service, including the Last Post and two minutes' silence.

The parade was led by Dereham Band and included soldiers from the Light Dragoons at Swanton Morley, who have just returned from a gruelling tour of Afghanistan in which six of their comrades were killed.

Rowland Hall, president of the Dereham and district branch of the Royal British Legion, said the support for the Remembrance Sunday event and Poppy Week collections had been “more than ever”.

He said: “With the loss of the soldiers from Swanton Morley there is more of an emphasis on remembrance.”

Standard bearers flanked the steps of City Hall in Norwich as wreath after wreath of poppies was laid on a specially-erected plinth - watched by a crowd of thousands who congregated nearby.

The Rev Peter Nokes, vicar of St Peter Mancroft Church, who led the act of remembrance, said: “It's a day when we shine a light on the human courage and self-offering which has brought protection and peace.

“We also shine a light on the terrible, terrible cost of war and the grief and loss it brings. We remember thousands and thousands of lives lost in the first world war in the most awful carnage and we remember the fallen of the second world war.”

The Last Post was played before an impeccably-observed two minutes' silence that was interrupted only by the sound of birds flying overhead.

After the act of remembrance there was a march through the city centre to attend a memorial service at Norwich Cathedral. As the marchers stepped out, there was a moving impromptu round of applause from the watching crowds lining the route.

In the afternoon, townsfolk in Beccles gathered to lay wreaths at the hospital's war memorial on St Mary's Road.

Mayor Jack Walmsley and Waveney MP Bob Blizzard joined those paying their respects before a parade made its way to St Michael's Church for a service of remembrance led by The Rev John Beauchamp.

In Lowestoft it was the first time for a number of years that the local branch of the Royal British Legion hosted the service. The 469 (Lowestoft) Squadron Air Training Corps marching band led a parade from the town hall to the Royal Plain for a service conducted by The Rev Duncan McMann.

People also gathered for services at St Mary's churches in Halesworth and Bungay, while in Southwold the day took on an extra poignancy following the recent death of Derek Doy, a long-standing member of the Southwold and Reydon branch of the RBL and husband of town mayor Sue Doy.

Yarmouth saw big crowds gather for a morning procession, with standard bearers leading the march to St George's Park where wreaths were laid on the memorial, followed by a two-minute silence and words of commemoration from The Rev Irene Knowles.

War veterans and young cadets joined forces in the parade at Fakenham. Several ex-service organisations were represented in a large parade which went from the Queens Road car park into the Market Place, where a short open air service was held around the war memorial.

Several hundred people were in the Market Place and a number of wreaths were laid before the parade moved on to Fakenham Parish Church for a remembrance service.

In the afternoon, Cromer paused to remember its war dead from two world wars and the current conflict in Afghanistan.

Crowds lined the street as veterans, army and air cadets, scouts and RNLI members marched through the town before a service in Cromer Parish Church.

During the service tribute was paid to Cpl Stephen Bolger, 30, who was killed in an explosion in Afghanistan on May 31. His name was read out with the more than 100 townsfolk who died in both world wars and in Kenya in the 1950s.

Vicar The Rev David Court said: “We are going to say thank you to somebody who gave his life working for peace, working for the good of others.”

After the service a wreath laying service took place at the town's war memorial in the church grounds as Cromer and Sheringham Brass Band played Abide with Me.

Town mayor Hilary Thompson and MP Norman Lamb laid wreaths along with Mr Bolger's father, Mike, a former town councillor.

Across north Norfolk Remembrance Sunday services were held in Holt, Mundesley, North Walsham, Sheringham and Stalham and Felbrigg.

Hundreds gathered at Downham Market to pay their respects to the fallen.

RAF servicemen and women joined the parade from the town hall to the war memorial, where wreaths were laid. After the short service the parade made its way to St Edmund's parish church.

In King's Lynn, West Norfolk mayor Michael Pitcher led the parade from King's Lynn Town Hall to the war memorial in Tower Gardens where over 30 wreaths were laid.

Those at the service then paraded to St. Margaret's Church for a service of remembrance.

In Hunstanton wreaths were laid at the war memorial before the parade marched to St Edmunds Church.

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