Remembrance Sunday parade held at Mowbray Park

Airmen of RAF Boulmer in file outside the Civic Centre waiting to march in.
Airmen of RAF Boulmer in file outside the Civic Centre waiting to march in.

Hundreds of Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Policemen and civilians came together on Sunday November 13 to honour those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The Remembrance Parade and Service marks not just those who fell in the First World War, but those who fell in the defence of the Nation.

The Parade marched off from the Civic Centre along Burdon Road. Leading the parade was the Band of the Royal Corps of Signals and the Bearpark and Esh Colliery Band.

The Parade Reviewing Officers were The Deputy Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, Colonel Ann Clouston, OBE, ARRC, TD DL Lt Col Rob Alston MBE RA, and the Mayor of Sunderland, Counsellor Alan Emerson.

Parade Regimental Sergeant Major was WO1 Sean Armstrong of the Royal Artillery.

The Royal Artillery fired two L118 105mm light guns from Mowbray Park to mark the two minute silence.

WO1 Sean Armstrong inspects the parade before marching off.
WO1 Sean Armstrong inspects the parade before marching off.

Counsellor Emerson, said: “The size of the Remembrance Service shows the support from the people of Sunderland to the Armed Forces and the Veterans.

“It makes you feel proud to stand there and see this. Its a privilege and also you feel very proud of the people of Sunderland. A number of people came to me afterwards and said what a great event it was and how proud they are of our soldiers.”

The warriors who marched in the parade have seen action in places such as Kenya, Malaya, Yugoslavia, Kosovo, The Falklands.

Also present, were two Second World War veterans. Len Gibson and George Lee Waller. Len Gibson recited The Far East Prisoner-of-War Prayer. George Waller recited the first four       verses of the famous war poem ‘For the Fallen’ before the two minute silence.

Len served in the Malayan Campaign with the 125 Anti Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery. He was taken by the Japanese military as a Prisoner-of-War. He was also sent to work on the infamous Burma Railway.

George Waller is an Airman of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. He served in North Africa from the early stages of the war. George worked on aircraft such as the Spitfire. George went on to serve in Italy after the Battle of Monte Cassino and Egypt.

Taking part in the parade were units from all around the North East.

Members of the Sunderland Parachute Regiment Association waiting to march past the saluting dais. Image by Ryan Lim
Members of the Sunderland Parachute Regiment Association waiting to march past the saluting dais. Image by Ryan Lim

The largest contingent was provided by the 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, Sunderland’s adopted regiment. Platoons from 3 Rifles, 21 Engineer Regiment, The Light Dragoons and 5 Armoured Medical Regiment.

Life Guards from the Household Cavalry were posted as Honour Guards at the Cenotaph.

Members of the Sunderland Parachute Regiment Association gather around the Cenotaph.
Members of the Sunderland Parachute Regiment Association gather around the Cenotaph.

Veterans from many units, such as the Parachute Regiment and Light Infantry, took part in the parade along with community groups. Veterans from across the Commonwealth took part paying tribute alongside British veterans.

As a soldier of the Singapore Army, I had the privilege of marching in the Remembrance Parade as a guest
of the Sunderland Parachute Regiment Association. During the Parade and Service, I felt very emotional and could feel the support Sunderland has for its veterans. Being able to represent the Singapore Army in Sunderland is significant to me as I know that many brave men from Sunderland served in Malaya during the Second World War. Many of them were captured by the Japanese such as Mr. Len Gibson.

I am thankful for their sacrifice and what they have done to keep the peace in the Far-East. Thank you to the men of the Sunderland Parachute Regiment Association and the Royal Artillery Club for making this happen.

George Waller tells more on his military service and recites the poem “For the Fallen”

 

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