Remembrance in pictures: Hillmorton residents old and young gather to honour those who paid the ultimate price
Members and supporters of the Royal British Legion’s Hillmorton Branch gathered at the village war memorial on Remembrance Day to pay their respects to those of their community and beyond who are serving – or have served - and may have given their lives, for their country.
The outdoor service was conducted by the Revd Anne Marie Marsh and the Rev Steve Gold, both of St John the Baptist church in Hillmorton. Revd. Gold reminded the congregation of the words of H.G. Wells who proclaimed in 1914 that The Great War would be a war to end all wars.
Sadly, as events since 1918 have proved, his prediction was vastly optimistic.
President of the Hillmorton Branch, Kathryn Lawrence, commented on Steve Gold’s theme.
She said: “Here we are, more than 100 years after the bloody conflict of the first world war, and we look at what’s going on in Ukraine, Israel, and Palestine and elsewhere in the world, and we weep. But not without hope.”
And hope was the message that was carried into Saint Andrew’s Church later that evening when an almost full capacity audience assembled to listen to the stirring music of Brass Band Central England. A band that is recognised as one of the finest brass bands in the country. Opening their concert with Glory Fanfare by Otto M Schwarz, they sent their music high into the arches, allowing it to swirl around before returning to the pews, a glorious experience. They played The British Legion March, the traditional accompaniment to the ceremonial Receiving of Standards; a short British Legion ceremony that symbolises the commitment to those serving in the military and to fallen comrades.
The very talented Rugby Male Voice Choir proved to be an excellent addition to the lineup. Starting off with an energetic version of Stout-Hearted Men, a tub-
thumping song from the 1940 film, New Moon.
They continued with Hand me Down my Silver Trumpet, Gabriel before enticing us with their catchy interpretation of Rhythm of Life.
As the evening drew to a close, Ukrainian Ladies Choir took to the stage one more time to sing Sche Ne Vmeria, the Ukrainian National Anthem. you could almost feel the pride and the emotion resonating from every note they sang.
Afterwards, Anna Nepip-Frankis, Secretary of Association of Ukrainians – Rugby Branch, translated a brief statement delivered by Iryna Vasylyshyn who has been in Rugby for over a year.
Anna said: “We remember the horrors of military atrocities from the stories of our grandparents. Today, we ourselves are experiencing terrible war crimes. On this day we remember those who did not return from the war, those who gave their lives for our freedom. May our memory of them always be alive. Let us bow our heads in honour to those who died for our honour, freedom, and independence.”
Sixty years ago, on 16 May 1963 to be precise, Lieutenant Richard Vaughan of the Royal Army Pay Corps, was the last man to be demobbed from compulsory
national service in the British Armed Forces.
Like Lieutenant Vaughan, some of the men who marched along Hillmorton High Street on Remembrance Sunday will have been conscripts. They too served their country far and wide and most have fond memories of their experiences and some have memories of comrades who
never made it back home.
An estimated two thousand men women and children attended the Royal British Legion’s annual Hillmorton’s Remembrance Parade, and it seems to get bigger
every year. This year a party from the Ukrainian Association were made welcome.
They marched behind the brass band with their flags held high and they sloped and raised their banner alongside the union flag and the British Legion standard,
and they joined in with the silence when the piper played Flowers of the Forrest.
President of the Hillmorton branch of the British Legion, Kathryn Lawrence, read out a poem entitled Who Are These Men? written in 1996 by eleven-year-old Jodie Johnson who was inspired to write it after attending a service of remembrance.
The final verse reads:
Who are all these men who promise to keep
Alive in their hearts the ones God holds asleep?
These are the men to whom I promise again
Veterans, my friends, I will remember them.