COLCHESTER: Thousands have turned out to pay their respects on the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, falling this year on Remembrance Sunday.
The full day of tributes began at 6:00am, with a bagpipe lament, Battle’s O’er, played from the Town Hall balcony, as a thousand other bagpipes sounded across the nation.
Members of the council, civic dignitaries, The Royal British Legion and representation from the Colchester Garrison gathered at the War Memorial outside the entrance to Colchester Castle.
Marking the two-minute silence at 11:00am, a 105mm Light Gun from the 7th Parachute Regiment Royal House Artillery fired at the beginning and end.
The two minute’s silence represents the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, when the guns of Europe fell silent.
Following the service, troops marched through the High Street passing the Town Hall where the Mayor and other dignitaries stood taking the salute.
Leading tributes, The Mayor of Colchester, Cllr Peter Chillingworth, said: “I am immensely honoured and humbled to be leading the borough’s tributes to the thousands of local men and women who served their country in the war to end all wars, as well as to the millions who have served and died in defence of freedom and peace throughout the intervening years.
“On this special day of Remembrance, I would encourage everyone to join with me to honour those lost in war and spend some time to reflect on the courage and sacrifice of former and current Service men and women, to whom we all owe an enormous and enduring debt of gratitude.”
The Mayor took to the Town Hall balcony at midday and recreated the scene from exactly 100 years ago when, the proclamation declaring the end of the Great War was read from the Town Hall balcony.
Lieutenant Colonel Steve Caldwell, Commander Colchester Garrison, said: “Remembrance is hugely important for our country and very real for those of us serving in the Armed Forces. 2018 is particularly poignant as we mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.
“We remember with deep gratitude the sacrifice of young men and women who have given their lives for others, not only in the First and Second World Wars, but in the many conflicts and military operations that have subsequently taken place. We also remember their families and all those who have been injured and still bear the scars of war.
“It is right that we in the military mark Remembrance shoulder-to-shoulder with the civilian community, from which we are drawn, and I invite the people of Colchester to join us to honour the Fallen.”
Remembrance Sunday is held in the UK as a day to “commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars.”
Traditionally held on the second Sunday in November, the Sunday nearest to the 11th of November, Remembrance Sunday commemorates the 1918 anniversary of the end of hostilities in the First World War at 11:00am.
In this, the 100th year since the end of the First World War, Remembrance Sunday 2018 coincided with Armistice Day with the nation falling silent to “remember those who gave their yesterdays so we could enjoy our todays.”