Shropshire pays tribute to war dead in Remembrance Day services

The people of Shropshire and Mid Wales turned out in their thousands to remember those who lost their lives in almost a century of conflict.

As the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month arrived yesterday, the county fell silent.

From the former servicemen of World War Two to those currently serving in the forces, many were remembering friends who died, whether on the beaches of Dunkirk or in Afghanistan.

With Remembrance Sunday and Armistice day coinciding, churches were full as prayers for peace were said.

One of the largest parades was in Market Drayton. More than 100 members of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment, stationed at Tern Hill, marched through the town, led by led by their mascot, an Irish wolf hound, and their pipes and drum band.

It was a particularly poignant day for the soldiers, remembering 22-year-old Roger McCormick who was killed in Afghanistan on Remembrance Sunday in 2010.

Their new commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ivor Gardiner took the salute, along with Councillor Brian Gillow from the Royal British Legion and town mayor, Councillor Steve Glover, who saw service in conflict as a police officer in the former Rhodesia in the 1970s.

Councillor Glover said: “People say there has never been such a large parade through Market Drayton. There were representatives from the Royal British Legion, with their standards, members of the Royal Marines’ Association and an excellent turnout from organisations like the air cadets and the scouts and guides.

“There were thousands of people on the streets as the parade made its way up Cheshire Street to the church.”

“It was very good to see the former bugler for our Remembrance Day, Mr Sam Plim, at the service, now in a wheelchair but very proud to be taking part.”

The mayor said as the two-minute silence ended there was a flypast of a classic aircraft, piloted by businessman, Glen James.

There was also a forces’ contingent at the parade in Welshpool. Members of the Parachute Regiment were among about 400 people who made their way from the Town Hall to the parish church.

Robert Robinson, clerk of Welshpool Town Council which organised the parade, said it was led by Newtown Youth Band and included veterans and youth organisations.

Welsh Assembly member, Russell George was also at the commemorations.

Mr Robinson said about 25 wreaths were laid at the war memorial.

Environment Secretary and North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson and his wife, Rose, were among about 1,000 people who marked the day in Oswestry.

So many wreaths were laid at the town’s war memorial, the Cae Glas Gates, there was no room on the gates for them all and some had to be placed on the pavement.

Mayor of Oswestry, Councillor Martin Bennett, said the parade, led by the Porthywaen Silver Band, went from the Guildhall to St Oswald’s Parish Church, stopping at the park gates for the two-minute silence. He said: “There must have been 1,000 people in the parade or lining the streets.”

Civic dignitaries included speaker of Shropshire Council, Councillor David Lloyd, and council leader Keith Barrow.

In a speech at the Guildhall, the mayor told the young people of the town they had an obligation not only to remember those who had given their lives but also to work wherever they could for peace and justice.

Families joined ex-servicemen at the war memorial by the Iron Bridge in Telford for the act of remembrance.

Vice chairman of the Gorge Parish Council, Councillor Heather Oldershaw, said: “There was a huge attendance with people gathered around the memorial and spilling over onto the Iron Bridge,” she said.

“Motorists were very respectful and voluntarily stopped their vehicles so there was no noise at all for the two minute silence.”

A smaller act of remembrance took place at Coalbrookdale with the chairman of the Gorge Parish Council laying a wreath.

In Bridgnorth, Ludlow MP Philip Dunne laid a wreath and servicemen from RAF Cosford were on parade.