Hucknall turns out in force to mark the centenary of Armistice Day

Hucknall's Remembrance Sunday parade
Hucknall's Remembrance Sunday parade

Hucknall people turned out in force to remember the town’s fallen soldiers and to mark the centenary of Armistice Day, and the end of World War One.

The market place was packed and the parade, led by Newstead Brass Band and the Royal British Legion, passed hundreds of people along the route to Titchfield Park.

Numbers swelled ten-fold as the procession reached the Cenotaph where the Act of Remembrance would take place.

Among those who came to remember lost loved ones, was Jane Saxby, whose grief at the death of her son in Afghanistan is still fresh and painful.

Lance Corporal Paul Sandford, was killed in Helmand Province, on June 7, 2007, the anniversary of the D- Day Landings, aged only 23.

Jane said: “I don;t have the words to say how I feel because it hurts so much. I loved him and miss him. It doesn’t matter what I do, he is not coming home.

“I want people to remember him for what he was,and for what he gave for this town and this country.”

She also spoke of her father, George Alan Brown, who fought in Germany with the Sherwood Forresters, in World War Two, and returned “a changed person afterwards.”

At the cenotaph, cadets read out the names of the 102 servicemen from Hucknall who were killed in 1918 alone.

And photographs of the 386 who fell in World War One, researched by Paul Granger, were held aloft.

The Rev Jo Stephens led the ceremony. She said: “We remember the faces of the very real people who gave their lives for our freedom.”

The Venerable David Picken, archdeacon of Newark, said: “The reveille is a wake-up call. In our act of remembrance we remember the enormity of war, the tremendous loss of life.

“We keep silence for words are not enough. If we are to make the commitment to peace and reconciliation, we need to be awake to dangers and possibilities.”

Methodist minister Sue Edwards read from the Book of Micah, chapter six, verses six to eight.

Richard Bullock, the deputy Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, laid the first wreath, and was followed by representatives from Ashfield council, councillors, the police and fire brigade, the British Legion, the Sherwood Forresters, Hucknall’s naval veterans, Mansfield Sae Cadets, the Salvation Army, Scouts, Guides, he 18thNottinghamshire Boys’ Brigade, the St John Ambulance, Rotary, Inner Wheel, the Round Table, Hucknall Tourism and Regeneration, schools and businesses.

Flight Sergeant Rob Carr, of 1803 Squadron, said: “It’s an honour to be able to do this and it’s good to see Hucknall as a town come together and see everyone come out pay their respects.”

Fight Sergeant Mark Day, of 504 Squadron, said: “504 was born in Hucknall, so that’s why we’re here today. This is the largest attendance.

“That’s what we have got to get through to the children – to remember the great wars forever. Without the efforts of the armed forces we wouldn’t be here today. It would be very different.”

Staff sergeant Natalia Waltham, of the Hucknall Army Cadets, said: “It’s important for us to to carry on educating and enlightening the cadets about the army and our reasons for being here.”

She said the cadets had recently joined a 1,000-strong parade at Thiepval, to commemorate the Battle of the Somme.

Jim Blagden, who was laying a wreath on behalf of Ashfield Independents, said he had taken his grandson to the England v Germany match, in Forest’s ground, on Thursday.

“There were 14,000 in the ground, and on the first day of the Somme, 16,000 were killed,” he said. “It brought it home.”

Neil Sharman, 82, is a past president of the Rotary Club, and did his National Service in Germany, when the Berlin Wall was going up, as a front Line Royal Engineer.

“In August 1960 we blew a series of bridges on the river Leine,” he said. “I always support the injured people. I have attended the Act of Remembrance for the past 30 years.”

Councillor Nicolle Ndiweni said: “It’s nice to see everyone come together as a community to remember those that have given their lives. We are all very appreciative. They gave us the society we have today.

“We hope everyone will take time to reflect and make sure we never make the same mistakes again.”

Lampposts were decorated with big poppies, bearing the names of Hucknall’s fallen, by schoolchildren, and the railings in the market place were festooned with thousands of wool poppies made by volunteers in a project started by the Hucknall Tourism and Regeneration Group.

The Rev Jo Stephens said: “There has been a great up-building of the community through the preparations. It’s been wonderful to see all the poppies. It’s been taken on by everyone.”