Remembrance services across Midhurst and Petworth

NEARLY 500 people gathered around the war memorial in Midhurst on Sunday, November 10, when the Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex, Susan Pyper, unveiled the name of Corporal David O’Connor.

They included his father George, who laid a wreath and his mother Rosemary, along with representatives from 40 Commando Royal Marines and townspeople.

George  O'Connor pays his respects  Picture by Louise Adams C131523-9 Mid Midhurst War Memorial

George O'Connor pays his respects Picture by Louise Adams C131523-9 Mid Midhurst War Memorial

Corporal O’Connor was brought up in Midhurst and attended both Midhurst Primary School and the former Midhurst Grammar School before following in his grandfather’s and his father’s footsteps and joining the Royal Marines in 2002.

He became a member of 40 Commando Royal Marines based in Taunton.

During his career he served in Iraq, Lebanon and the Gulf.

He had already served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, but was deployed there for a third in September 2012.

He died there on active service on October 24 last year at the age of 27.

He had been an active member of the Cadet Force in Midhurst and it was his family’s wish that he should be remembered in the town where he grew up.

Earlier this year his friends and family organised a special service and tree-planting in his memory, held on Sunset Hill, Midhurst.

Corporal O’Connor’s name was added to the war memorial on Church Hill through the organisation of the Royal British Legion’s Midhurst branch, the Midhurst Town Trust and members of Midhurst Town Council.

The work was carried out by a stonemason several weeks ago 
and the inscription reads ‘Afghanistan 2012, David O’Connor, Royal Marines’.

After the unveiling ceremony, the remembrance service then commemorated all those from Midhurst who had died in the two world wars and wreaths were laid on behalf of organisations in the town including the Girl Guides and the Army Cadet Force.

The service continued in the parish church where the sermon was preached by the Rev Jonathan Chaffey, deputy chaplain-in-chief of the Royal Air Force and honorary chaplain to the Queen.

There was also a Remembrance Sunday service in Woolbeding Church in the afternoon.

The Last Post and Reveille were sounded on the trumpet at both services by Alexander Watts, a pupil of Seaford College who lives in Midhurst.

Four our full coverage of services across the area, see this week’s Midhurst and Petworth Observer out Thursday, November 14.