Royal Air Force Air Cadets from 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron joined war veterans and serving soldiers in Bedworth on Monday 11th November to honour the heroes of Wars past and present.
Bedworth has an unbroken 97-year tradition of holding an Armistice Day Parade on the eleventh day of the eleventh month and is recognised as being the largest parade of its type outside of London. As such, Armistice Day has always been a special occasion for the people of Nuneaton & Bedworth
The Band of 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron headed by their Drum Major Kyle Evans, 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.
Rank upon rank of old soldiers and members of the cadet forces led by the military bands and a massed formation of ex-service and cadet standards made their way through the streets to the town's war memorial for the service of remembrance, which was led by the Bishop of Coventry the Rt Rev Dr Christopher Cocksworth and Rev Richard Hare, who had himself served 22 years in the RAF.
Four local Nuneaton & Bedworth Cadets, two Sea Cadets from TS Vanquisher and Air Cadets Paige Eaves and Cameron Steele, from 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron, had central parts to play during the service at the town’s War Memorial. In front of literally thousands of onlookers and surrounded by the press and television crews, the 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 Timothy Cox, the High Sheriff of Warwickshire Janet Bell Smith, the Mayor of Nuneaton & Bedworth Councillor Barry Longdon and the Chair of Warwickshire County Council, Councillor Lt Cdr R Stevens.
The moving service was momentarily interrupted by the roar of engines as a WW2 Dekota made a low level run over the War Memorial dropping a million poppy petals into the sky above the congregation.
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 regimental bands and the applause of the flag waving crowds.
The salute was taken by the Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire Timothy Cox and the Mayor of Nuneaton & Bedworth. Wing Commander Steve Mills RAFVR(T) and Squadron Leader Martin Harrison RAFVR(T) were also at the saluting base.
After the parade Gil Leach chairman of the Bedworth Armistice Day Parade Group said, "I am so pleased with the turn-out, the town and everyone including the cadets did us proud."
Flt Lt Paul Hincks Officer Commanding 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron 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 flight 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 2015 Bedworth Armistice Day Parade Photo Gallery