THE Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire Mark Armstrong praised the people of Redditch as they came together in their hundreds to mark Remembrance Sunday.
Mr Armstrong, who spent 33 years serving with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers said: “Redditch is an ethnically diverse town and it’s great to see so many people here from all its different communities.
“It’s important to remember the incredible sacrifices made by soldiers who fought in the British Army whatever their colour or creed.”
Also present at the service were members of the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force, Cadets, Scouts, Girl Guides, Cubs and Beavers, and veterans.
They were joined by the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia Police John Campion, Deputy Mayor Councillor Gareth Prosser, Council leader Coun Matt Dormer and the leader of the borough’s Labour group Coun Bill Hartnett.
Also present were the candidates for the forthcoming General Election as well as representatives from all the town’s ethnic groups and the Redditch branch of the Royal British Legion, who had organised the day.
The service of Remembrance was led by town centre chaplain and vicar of St Stephen’s the Rev Paul Lawlor who reminded the hundreds who crowded around the war memorial that they were gathered there to remember not just those who had died in two world wars but also the thousands of others who had made the ultimate sacrifice in other wars for our freedom.
“We come not to celebrate victory or to glory in war but to remember the great cost paid by parents, loved ones, children and by communities,” he said.
“We recall the pain of people from across the world sending people from all kinds of backgrounds to fight oppression and injustice, and not seeing those people return.”
One such person was Redditch resident Sergeant Albert Henry Duggins, whose story was told by Warrant Officer Saheed Khan.
He told how Albert had gone to France in 1915, had fought at the Battle of the Somme, writing to his brother: “We are up to our knees in mud and water and dare not move at night for fear of falling into a shell hole and losing ourselves.”
WOII Khan also told how Albert’s luck ran out on October 12, 1917, dying from wounds he received in combat.
Reflecting on events and the importance of remembrance, Rev Lawlor said: “I understand that we want to show our identity and there are calls for many different colours of poppy.
“But today I hope that one Poppy can represent us all.
“No matter of individual identities, cut us and we will all bleed red.”
For a short video of the parade, click here