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Westcountry remembers its war dead in moving ceremonies across region

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 12, 2012

  • Officers and civil dignataries arrive with poppy wreaths at Remembrance Day in Exeter on Cathedral Green Picture: Richard Austin

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Crowns of crimson adorn war memorials across the Westcountry this morning following yesterday's poppy wreath-laying ceremonies.

Thousands turned out for Remembrance Sunday to pay tribute to the men and women who gave their lives on the front line in our name.

Immaculately-dressed veterans with medals glinting stood proudly for their fallen comrades.

Slowly heads bowed as the two-minute silence began at 11am and a hush fell over gatherings in cities, towns and villages.

Plymouth, Exeter and Truro held memorial ceremonies along with hundreds of towns and villages, including Liskeard, Launceston, Bude, Stratton and Torpoint.

Further afield, in Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, a service was held in the town synonymous with the repatriation of those killed in Afghanistan.

Many fallen heroes from the Westcountry made their final journey home via the town in hearses carrying coffins draped in the red, white and blue they fought under, until the repatriation of British service personnel was transferred from RAF Lyneham to RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire.

At HMS Raleigh, Torpoint, military personnel yesterday came together at the graves of 44 sailors and 21 Royal Engineers killed during the Second World War. Some 500 members of the ship's company and trainees marched to Horson cemetery where those who perished are buried in war graves. They were killed when a German bomb hit an air-raid shelter on the base in 1941.

Captain Bob Fancy, Commanding Officer said: "Remembering those who have given their lives while serving their country is an important thing to do and I was really honoured to be chosen to lay a wreath."

Also at Torpoint, motorcyclists from the Royal British Legion Riders Branch turned out in their leathers and medals to pay their respects.

Originally an ex-services motorcycle club, the group was formally recognised by the Legion in 2005 and every year raises thousands for the Poppy Appeal.

The streets in Tavistock, saw veterans with their heads held high marching in the town to applause and in the nearby village of Lydford, villagers remembered 23 names carved into their war memorial.

Made from Dartmoor granite, the memorial demonstrates the great sacrifice this small community has made. Alongside those lost in two world wars, the memorial also bears names from the Falklands and Iraq conflicts.

In the Devon village of Dolton, bell ringers rang the church bells for half and hour to call villagers to the war memorial, where a service was held.

Remembrance weekend was marked on Saturday with the Military Wives Choir singing at a concert at Redruth Rugby Club.

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  • bettysenior  |  November 12 2012, 10:49PM

    The Unsung Heroes of our Great Country who in Reality Saved our Nation but where we have 'Never' really Recognized them or Celebrated them for saving us from the Tyranny of Nazi Domination In this period of remembrance for all those who lost their lives and fought in two world wars we have to thank all those inventors who made possible victory in Europe. So much is said and rightly so, about the courage and sheer suffering that our boys (and girls) endured so that we won the two world wars but where the boys and women who behind the scenes made it possible are hardly ever mentioned by the media – the vital unsung heroes and without them we would now be under Nazi domination. In this respect if radar had not been invented we would not have won the war of the skies in 1940, as we would not have then had the advantage of surprise (and historians state that Germany would have taken over Britain). It was down to Robert Watson-Watt, the son of a carpenter and cabinet together with people like Arthur C. Clarke. If Barnes Wallis (the son of a GP) and inventor of the bouncing bomb, tall boy that sunk the Tirpitz and the larger earthquake bomb that destroyed underground Nazi communication systems prior to D-Day, the Normandy Landings may have very well been thwarted. If John Argyris, the unsung hero who made military aircraft far safer and fixed up to 85% of all structural faults in some of our military plane before D-Day, would we have won the air war over Europe allowing the allies to roam wherever they wished. Indeed without air-cover the war in Europe may very well have been lost. Argryis's work has been hidden for years and where his work could have literally saved 100s of thousands of allied lives. Little know also is that Argryis's uncle was Einstein's mentor and in this respect he said of his mentor, "My mentor (Constantin Carathéodory [Karatheodoris] was an unrivalled Greek, to whom I, as well as mathematics, physics and the wisdom of our century owe everything." Indeed, On December 19, 2005, Israeli officials along with Israel's ambassador to Athens, Ram Aviram, presented the Greek foreign ministry with copies of 10 letters between Albert Einstein and Constantin Carathéodory [Karatheodoris] that suggest that the work of Carathéodory helped shape some of Albert Einstein's theories. If it had not been for people like Alan Turing (a civil servant's son and an average performing pupil at School) and his work at Bletchley Park, WW2 would have gone on for at least a further 3-years with the loss of hundreds of thousands of additional lives. These to name but only a few of our unsung heroes and where there is a multitude of inventors that without them we would certainly have lost the war in my humble opinion. It is therefore about time that this nation recognized all this and had an official day to celebrate our great inventors, engineer and scientists. For without them, we would be have gained little and most probably even been enslaved by what can only be described as an evil power, according to what we now know from history. They are therefore in reality the great protectors of our nation but where we always forget them and never thank them for saving us. Dr David Hill Chief Executive World Innovation Foundation Huddersfield, United Kingdom – Bern, Switzerland – Arlington, United States of America

  • youngcornwall  |  November 12 2012, 9:12AM

    They died that we may move on and have our say Not to be frightened of any dictator we would have to obey Free to say what we like within reason it must be said So we can sleep save in our own bed. yc

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  • Big_Ger  |  November 12 2012, 9:07AM

    In Flanders fields In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place: and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields. John McCrae (1872–1918)

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