Dunstable gathers to honour its war heroes

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On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, it was the moment the guns fell silent at the end of the first world war.

On Sunday thousands gathered at the War Memorial in Priory House Gardens in Dunstable to commemorate Armistice Day 100 years on and to pay respects to the servicemen and women who gave their lives in all past conflicts.

The parade of the town’s ex-service and uniformed organisations marched from Grove House Gardens to the War Memorial in Priory House Gardens, where the Deputy Lord Lieutenant Mrs Cynthia Gresham, Dunstable Town Mayor Cllr. John Kane and the Chairman of Central Bedfordshire Council Cllr. Fiona Chapman took the salute.

The brightness of the autumnal morning lent poignancy to the ceremony, the Last Post, the two minutes silence and then the bugler sounding Reveille.

The Dunstable Town Council Chief Executive and Town Clerk Mr David Ashlee then gave the Exhortation, which was followed by the Kohima Epitaph read by Cllr. Terry Colbourne. There was then the rededication of the refurbished War Memorial by the Bishop of Bedford, The Right Reverend Richard Atkinson then the laying of wreaths at the War Memorial, joined by armed forces veterans and organisations together with pupils from many Dunstable schools.

The Bishop of Bedford closed the remembrance ceremony with prayers and a blessing and then all were invited to join the inter-denominational service in the Priory Church.

Cllr Kane said: “It was good to see so many young people taking part in the parade, cadets from the three services, representatives from the scouts and guides as well as several schools”.

Dunstable and surrounding villages came together last Sunday evening, at the National Trust Visitor Centre on Dunstable Downs for the lighting of one of a thousand beacons being lit across the UK, signifying the light of peace that emerged from the darkness of four years of war.

The “Beacon of Light” program included music from the Dunstable Salvation Army Band, Spoken word poet Toby Thompson, Tribute to the Millions read by e Mrs Gresham, Memories from historian Paul Johnson, the evening was compered by Nick Coffer who read the Roll of Honour of all those local people killed in the First World War.

At 7pm the Deputy Lord Lieutenant and the Dunstable Town Mayor lit the Beacon to commemorate the past 100 Years of Remembrance