We Will Remember Them… Remembrance Parade

On a bright but cold morning hundreds of people gathered in Market Square yesterday to pay their respects at the Henley Remembrance Day service.  Canon Martyn Griffiths from St Mary’s Church led the service with his introduction before the last post was sounded and the two minutes silence.

Army Cadet Lance Corporal Rhea Simister from Harpsden then read the lesson before the prayers.  The Mayor, Stefan Gawrysiak followed with his address “At this time of year, each year we come together to  remember. During this service today we remember in solemn, reflection the ultimate sacrifice made by men and women. We pause; we reflect and with grateful thanks, we remember those who serve to secure and preserve our freedom.” He continued “We thank all of the parents who have brought their children and grandchildren to this service today, so that they can share in this act of remembrance. We also thank the young people from all of the youth organisations of Henley on Thames. The baton of remembrance is being passed down the generations and this respect will continue for years to come.”  He then read an extract from the last letter a Henley serviceman, Cyrus Thatcher wrote to his parents to be opened by this family if he were to be killed (he died in action on 2 June 2009). You can read the full extract here.

The parade at the service was led by Major Paul Smyth and included ex service associations, the Service Cadet Corps and other local organisations and associations including the St John’s Ambulance, Beavers, Cubs and Scouts and Brownies and Guides from Henley.

After the second hymn, ‘I vow to thee, my country’, the prayers and the blessings, the wreaths were laid on the Town Hall steps.  A march past then followed by all the groups around Market Square with the assembled crowd applauding them.

Peter Williams, retired RAF Flt. Lt.  from Henley captured the parade and the WW1 exhibition at Trinity Church in his great ‘Henley Remembers’ slide show which can be watched here.

Today at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 World War 1 ended and the guns became silent. On the Town hall steps at 11 o’clock today there will be a brief service of remembrance.