TOWNS and villages across the Observer area fell silent today (November 9), to remember the service personnel who lost their lives in conflicts across the world.
In Midhurst, hundreds of people gathered at the war memorial alongside standard bearers, scouts, guides, veterans and other organisations.
Resident William George, 89, goes to the event every year.
“It’s an excellent service,” said Mr George, who served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Marines for 35 years.
“I am old enough to remember the first world war. As a boy, I thought people lost their arms and legs when they reached 30.
“I thought they just dropped off when you reached that age, because there were so many veterans around who had lost limbs.
“I thought I would never join the service. But on November 8, 1940, I decided I didn’t like anybody, so I joined up!”
Ted and Wendy Liddle went on behalf of the Royal British Legion (RBL).
“I joined up as a member of the RBL 35 years ago,” said Ted.
“I support veterans and the legion in any way I can. My wife has now taken over from me. My dad served in the army and I have a personal attachment to the services, and the Midhurst community.”
Wendy added: “It’s phenomenal how many people come together to remember those who lost their lives. It’s also so important that we keep teaching young children about it. It’s wonderful to see youngsters from so many organisations pay their respects.
“We have so much to be grateful for.”
The two-minute silence at 11am was impeccably observed, and wreaths were laid by a number of groups before a service was held in the parish church in the presence of Margaret Johnson, deputy lieutenant of West Sussex.
It was led by the Rev Dave Willis, vicar of Midhurst Parish Church, assisted by the Rev John Hickman, Midhurst area chaplain of the Royal British Legion. In Petworth, deputy leader of Chichester District Council, Eileen Lintill, said Remembrance Day in the town is always a poignant occasion, with young and old getting together.
“This year marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day and 100 years since the first world war, so it is especially poignant,” said cllr Lintill.
“For Petworth, it is a particularly moving day because of the bombing of the boys school, which happened as a result of enemy actions.”
Petworth Town Band provided music and led a parade from the RBL club, through the town to St Mary’s Church.
John Woolgar comes from Storrington to the town every year.
“Petworth has a really nice service,” he said.
“I like to come and see the band. There’s such a nice atmosphere here.”
For all the pictures, see this week’s Midhurst and Petworth Observer (November 13).