On the 6th June, Nuneaton's Air Cadets joined service veterans from the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and other ex-service organisations from across the county as they gathered in tribute to remember the Sword Beach D-Day actions of the ‘Royal Warwicks' which took place 66 years ago on June 6th 1944.
The band of 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron Air Training Corps led the parade of Standards ex-service and cadet contingents as they marched through Riversly Park to the town's War Memorial where wreaths were laid in remembrance of all those who gave their lives in the service of their country. The Band then led the way through the park to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment Memorial for an open air service to remember the men of the ‘Royal Warwicks' who took part in the biggest seaborne invasion in history.
The Rev Alan Potts, Padre to the Royal Signals Regiment based at Bramcote, conducted the service during which Mr T Bailey, recalled the history of the regiment and gave an account of the actions of the Regiment during the D-Day landings on Sword Beach .
The Rev Alan Potts, read out the names and ages of many of the regiment's young men who lost their lives during the first moments of the D-Day landings, he also included the names of the members of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers who have more recently lost their lives in the conflict in Afghanistan . Rev Potts said, “It's the names of these young men and the sacrifice they made which makes a service like this so personal and brings home the true meaning of such an event”.
As old soldiers of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, together with members of other ex-service associations, cadets and members of the public stood in silent remembrance in the afternoon sun, the bugler sounded the Last Post and the standards were dipped in salute at the beginning of the two-minute silence.
After the parade Ex-Royal Marine Jesse Owen who was the Parade Marshall said, “I think the Air Cadet band did a splendid job they get better every time I see them and they should be justly proud of themselves”.
Flt Lt Paul Hincks of 121 Squadron added, “We are always glad to be given the opportunity to take part in ex service community events like this. So many young people today have no idea what it must have been like for those men, not much older than themselves who went through so much on those beaches. Before the parade our CO asked the cadets what they knew about D-Day, he didn't get much of a reply. I'm sure the response would be somewhat different if he asked them the same question again now.”