Air Cadets from 121 ( Nuneaton ) Squadron joined thousands of local people as they paid tribute to those who gave their lives in the service of their country.
The Squadron normally takes part in two services of Remembrance. One on Armistice Day itself and a second on Remembrance Sunday however this year the squadron was invited to take part in four acts of Remembrance.
The first act of Remembrance took place on Sunday the 5 th November when members of the band attended a service in Baginton near Coventry Airport which was being held to remember the Polish Airman who lost their lives whilst on active service in the area during the second word war. The link between the Squadron and Polish Airman serving with the RAF goes back to the days of 1942 when cadets from Nuneaton had regular visits to Polish Wellington bomber Squadrons based at RAF Bramcote and later RAF Nuneaton. During the service Sergeant Amiee Easterlow played the Last Post and Reveille and cadets stood vigil at the graves of Polish Airman. The organiser of the event was so delighted with the contribution made by the members of the Squadron during the service that he later mentioned the Squadron during a Polish language broadcast on the BBC World Service. Unfortunately none of us speak Polish so we're not quite sure what he said, but we are assured that we did get mentioned.
On Saturday 11th of November the Squadron together with contingents from other units from Warwickshire and Birmingham Wing attended the Armistice Day service and parade in Bedworth. This parade is unique because the local branch of the Royal British Legion has stuck rigidly to the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month to honour the war dead every year, since the end of the First World War. Many hundreds of veterans from all over the world annually make the pilgrimage to Bedworth with their standards to pay homage to fallen comrades and meet up with many old ex-service pals.
During the march past the band of 121 Squadron had the honour of leading the cadet contingent of the parade through the streets of Bedworth. The biggest honour of the day however befell Cadet Joe Botteral from Nuneaton who was chosen to assist Mr Frank Parsons, a former Royal Marines Commando and survivor of the infamous Changi Jail as a prisoner of the Japanese. Over the years Frank Parsons has become Bedworth's best-known old soldier and has become the proud figurehead of the town's annual Armistice Day parade. Unfortunately Frank has recently been in hospital and organisers of the parade didn't know whether he would be out in time to take his usual place at the head of the procession of veterans. Thankfully he was and Cadet Botteral was on hand to help Frank to lead the parade in his wheelchair.
The third Act of Remembrance took place during the evening in Nuneaton when members of the Royal British Legion gathered in the towns Arts Centre for a service of Remembrance which was attended by many veterans who no longer feel able to take part in the traditional outdoor parade. During the ceremony the standard bearers from the Royal British Legion and other ex-service organisations dipped their standards, in salute, as the trumpeters of 121 Squadron played the Last Post and Reveille.
On Sunday 12th of November the Squadron joined the ranks of veterans from the Royal British Legion and other ex-service organisations on parade at the Nuneaton War Memorial in Riversley Park .
A large crowd stood in silent remembrance as the standards were dipped in salute as the bugler sounded the Last Post. An armed cadet honour guard formed by cadets from all three services and commanded by Warrant Officer Jim Taylor, stood vigil at the War memorial during the wreath laying ceremony, which was led by the Mayor of Nuneaton and Bedworth and other civic leaders, service representatives and members of ex-service organisations.
Following the service the parade led by the band of 121 Squadron formed up for the march past, along Coton Road and past the saluting base at the Council House. The armed cadet honour guard formed an escort to the standards of the Royal British Legion and other ex-service organisations.
Flt Lt Ian Crewe Officer Commanding 121 Squadron said, “It's been a busy period for the Squadron but we are only too glad to have been able to take part in so many services and share the experience with so many people of all ages. In the past, most people have associated Remembrance Day as a time to remember those who had given their lives during the two World Wars. In recent years the large contingents of World War II veterans attending both the Nuneaton and Bedworth services, have been swelled by servicemen and women who served in other conflicts. At a time when thousands of our forces are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan , Remembrance Day has an even deeper meaning for the Squadron as we pray for the safety of many of our former cadets who are currently serving in the armed forces”.
121 Squadron Tribute to the fallen