At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in the 11th year, Thousands of veterans from all over the country marched through the town of Bedworth as part of the colourful Armistice Day Parade of Bands and Regimental Standards.
The Bedworth Armistice Day parade was first held in 1921 and has traditionally taken place on the 11th November every year since then. This year, however, marks the very first time ever, that the parade has managed to clock up all 'four elevens' - the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in the 11th year, and that won't happen again for another hundred years.
Hundreds of young people also joined the veterans to honour the heroes of Wars past and present. The Band of 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron headed by their Drum Major Deanna Young, carrying the Memorial Mace, which bears the name of Bedworth's own music loving War Hero Sergeant Dennis Wale, led a contingent of Air cadets from Squadrons within the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing. Sea and Army cadets, school children and members of other youth organisations were also on parade representing the next generation, who will eventually be entrusted with keeping Bedworth's Armistice Day Parade tradition alive.
Four local Nuneaton & Bedworth Air Cadets from 121 Squadron, Connor Jones, Kyle Evans, CWO Robert Allan and William Mott all had central parts to play during the parade and service at the War 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 Four 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 Mr Tim Cox, the Mayor of Nuneaton & Bedworth Councillor Neil Phillips and Marcus Jones, MP.
During the service, the Rev Frank Seldon, Chaplain to the Coventry branch of the Royal Air Forces Association, who's son is currently serving on the front line in Afghanistan , said, “It is vital that we remember those who had paid the ultimate sacrifice. Over 100 service personnel have died during the past year and there are some among us today who have lost close family and friends”.
After the service, hundreds of veterans representing, the Royal Navy, almost every regiment of the Army and the Royal Air Force together with the Cadets from all three services and other youth organisations proudly marched through the town, to the sound of the bands and the applause of the flag waving children in the crowds.
The salute was taken by the Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire Martin Dunne and the Mayor of Nuneaton & Bedworth Neil Phillips. Wing Commander Steve Mills RAFVR(T) and Squadron Leader Martin Harrison RAFVR(T) were also at the saluting base.
Flight Lieutenant Paul Hincks, Media Communications Officer for Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing said, “The Bedworth Armistice Day parade is really something quite special, to see the bands and rank upon rank of Standards and veterans, from all over the country marching through the streets is just a stunning sight. Those cadets who had special duties during the service, Wreath Bearers, 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.”
The Bedworth Armistice Day Parade and Service is organised by the Bedworth Armistice Day Committee and Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council. www.bedwortharmisticeday.org
Please visit our 2011 Bedworth Armistice Day Parade Photo Gallery