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Bedworth Armistice Day Parade

Air cadets from 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron joined war veterans and serving soldiers in Bedworth on Wednesday 11th November to honour the heroes of Wars past and present.

Bedworth has an unbroken 88-year tradition of holding an Armistice Day parade on the eleventh day of the eleventh month and is recognised as being the larges parade of its type outside of London . As such, Armistice Day has always been a special occasion for the people of Nuneaton & Bedworth. But this year's parade, so soon after the loss of four local soldiers killed in Afghanistan this summer, took on a special meaning which spanned the generations.

As More than 6,000 people turned out to line the streets of the town centre the Band of 121 ( Nuneaton ) Squadron had the honour of leading the third contingent of the parade representing the younger generation and the emergency services. The rapturous applause grew as the band's music echoed through the streets as they made their way to the town's War Memorial.

Three Nuneaton & Bedworth cadets from 121 Squadron, Liam Tuff, Ross McIver and Sarah Painter had central parts to play during the service at the Memorial which was led by the Rev Richard Hare, who had himself served 22 years in the RAF. In front of literally thousands of onlookers and surrounded by the press and television crews, the three youngsters stood to attention at their posts in front of the Memorial during the Silence waiting for the moment when they would trigger the start of the wreath laying ceremony by handing over the wreaths to the civic dignitaries which included the Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire Martin Dunne, the High Sheriff of Warwickshire, Mrs Anna M Trye and the Mayor of Nuneaton and Bedworth Tom Wilson.

During the service war veterans, serving soldiers, cadets and members of other youth organisations stood shoulder-to-shoulder in silent remembrance of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in conflicts past and present. A stark reminder that lives are still being lost in the fight for peace came when the families of four local soldiers killed in Afghanistan this summer including; teenager Fusilier Louis Carter, Sergeant Simon Valentine, Lance Corporal James Fullarton and Fusilier Shaun Bush, stepped forward to lay their poppy wreaths at the foot of the War Memorial.

After the service the parade formed up for the march past with the Band of 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron leading the youth element which included contingents from 84 ( Coventry Airport ), 493 (Kings Heath & Moseley), 497 (Daventry) and 1459 (Heart of England ) Squadrons.

The salute was taken by the Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire Martin Dunne and the Mayor of Nuneaton & Bedworth Tom Wilson. Wing Commander Steve Mills RAFVR(T) and Squadron Leader Martin Harrison RAFVR(T) were also at the saluting base.

After the parade the 121 Squadron band was invited to play for the veterans in the Bedworth Ex-Servicemen's club.

Flt Lt Paul Hincks of 121 Squadron said, “The Bedworth Armistice Day parade is really something quite special, to see the bands and rank upon rank of Standards and veterans, representing almost every unit of the armed services from all over the country marching through the streets is just a stunning sight. The turnout this year was significantly larger than normal, perhaps in a response to recent events and a desire to show support for our servicemen and women in Afghanistan .”

“Those cadets who had special duties during the service, the band, Standard Bearers and all the other cadets in the flights did an absolutely outstanding job not only of representing the Air Cadet movement but also our parent service.”

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