Thousands fell silent in Northampton town centre today during an emotional Remembrance Sunday service.
Proceedings began at 9.30am with The Northampton Pipe Band leading the first part of a march to All Saints’ Church and a parade which included members of the Royal British Legion, ex-service organisations and the Air Training Corps Band.
A separate parade of dignitaries was led by mayor of Northampton Borough Council Councillor Penelope Flavell, (Con, Rushmills) which included Northampton MPs Michael Ellis and David Mackintosh.
At 10am hundreds gathered in All Saints to hear the Remembrance service led by Rev Canon Frank Pickard.
As part of the opening Bidding, he said: “Let us pray for all those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces of the Crown, and for all those who serve in places of deadly conflict and danger this day.”
Shortly before 11am the procession headed from the church to the town’s War Memorial for the laying of wreaths and a service, which included a reading from president of the Northampton branch of the Royal British Legion, Joe Hefferman.
He addressed the crowd with an extract from Laurence Binyon’s poem ‘Ode of Remembrance’, which features the lines: “At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember.”
Barely a sound could be heard as the Last Post was played and the thousands of townsfolk gathered to watch the service observed a two-minute silence at 11am.
Among those laying wreaths at the War Memorial afterwards was Geraldine Birch, whose son Corporal Mark Birch, was killed in Sagin, in the Helmand Province of Iraq in 2008.
She said: “It’s so nice how the public in Northampton pay tribute by applauding the veterans and the youngsters as they march past.
“It was a lovely service as always.”
However she said there may have been some mix-up in the proceedings today, as the dignitaries left the Memorial Gardens in Wood Hill before the ex-servicemen and women and those laying private wreaths had the chance to do so.
Also watching the proceedings today was Dave Richardson, 70, of Kingsthorpe, who served in the Grenadier Guards Fourth Battalion in Northern Ireland and Cyprus and whose son has fought in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
He said: “It was a very good turn out again in Northampton.
“Since the anniversaries of the start of World War One and the 70th anniversary of D-Day last year and with more and more veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan returning home, a lot more people realise the sacrifices made by troops and their families.
“We have a son who has served in both these theatres of war. In my day it was nowhere near as bad as the servicemen and women have to endure now.”