July 31 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, June 7, 2014
As the hazy evening sun dipped below the tree line in Great Yarmouth, hundreds of people turned out in St George’s Park to remember those who had served on The Longest Day.
The service was led by cadet groups representing the army, navy and airforce along with Royal British Legion (RBL) members from across the borough, who marched from St George’s Theatre into the park to begin the service.
Decorated veterans watched as the congregation sang hymns, bowed their heads for prayers and heard readings recalling memories of the fierce battle fought on Normandy’s beaches, which marked the beginning of the end of war.
Canon Christopher Terry, team rector at Great Yarmouth, led the service and told the assembled crowd that they had gathered to pay their respects to all those who had played a part on June 6, 1944.
He said: “We give thanks for the dedication of all those who laboured for the cause of freedom; not only those who landed on the beaches but the thousands and thousands of people whose hard work meant that civilised society and our freedoms could continue.”
“Today is not another remembrance day, nor is it a celebration of victory. We gather to commemorate the event and to thank all those who were involved in any way,” he added.
After the national anthem was sung the congregation moved to the World War Two memorial to watch as wreathes were laid by dignitaries, school children cadets and military personnel.
The park fell silent as the bright red rings of remembrance were laid carefully and saluted.
Heads then bowed for a two minute silence before the cadet band from Winterton’s 901 marine troop TS Fearless led the parade out of the park.
As standard bearers and veterans marched out of the park the crowd burst into applause, leading them across the road and back to St George’s.
The service, which was held at 6.30pm to ensure as many people as possible could attend, was organised by the Yarmouth branch of the RBL along with the Yarmouth branch of the Memorable Order of Tin Hats and the borough council.
Paul Williams, chairman of Yarmouth RBL, said: “It’s not until times like this come round that you realise what other men went through to give us what we have got today, and we must remember it and we must honour it.”