Hundreds of people lined the streets in Cromer for the annual remembrance ceremony, highlighted by the WW1 centenary. Acknowledgements were simultaneously echoed by twinning committee members who were attending Armistice Day in Crest, France.
Armistice Day (which coincides with Remembrance Day and Veterans Day, public holidays) is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning—the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918.
The parade marched through Cromer town and saluted dignitaries as they passed the main stand. Cromer Mayor, Tony Nash, stood on the rostrum to greet participants.
People cheered on route as familiar tunes filled the air bringing back many memories for veterans and service personnel. A sea of poppies dominated the view painting the streets with a mixture of red and black.
North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb joined representatives from organisations including St John Ambulance, Cromer Town Council, RNLI, local Scouts and Guides as they marched towards Cromer church.
After a moments silence the last post echoed around the church before wreaths were laid on the memorial outside, with Cromer and Sheringham Brass Band playing hymns.
Cromer suffered several bombing raids during world war 2. Shortly after one of these raids, Cromer featured as the location for an episode of “An American In England”, written by Norman Corwin with the narrator staying in The Red Lion Hotel and retelling several local accounts of life in the town at wartime.
Even though first World War fallen featured prominently in this year’s commemorations, Cromer’s most recent hero, Cpl Stephen Bolger, was not forgotten.
Paratrooper Bolger, 30, a former Cromer cadet, died in action in Afghanistan in May 2009.
Leading up to Armistice Day in Crest, France. Monday November 10th
Students of Royannez school near the war memorial, read passages highlighting WW1 and made tributes to veterans. After a period of silence local dignitaries welcomed twinning committee members from Nidda (Germany) Crest (France) Cromer (UK) and Italy. There were pictorial and written displays by the children inside the school, teachers were very helpful translating some of the work.
Armistice Day in Crest, France
The national holiday in Cromer’s twinning town Crest, France served as a poignant reminder of human suffering during times of conflict.
The the ceremony of Flames of Hope and Remembrance (Cérémonie des Flammes de l’espoir et du souvenir) was attended by local dignitaries and representatives from other countries.
Continuous rain didn’t deter People gathering outside the town hall, where bandsman wearing waterproof jackets lead a sea of umbrellas towards the war memorial.
The town mayor, Hervé Mariton made an emotional speech and welcomed twinning representatives from Cromer (UK), France, Germany and Italy before laying a wreath.
Cromer Vice-Chairlady for twinning, Mary Hill, laid a wreath of poppies followed by a minutes silence.
Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red tribute in London
The poem that inspired the creation of 888,246 poppies surrounding the Tower of London was written by a First World War soldier whose name no one knows.
The poppies have been sold for £25 each with all net proceeds plus 10% of every sale being shared between six service charities, including Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion.
It is thought the sales could raise in excess of £15m.
Our Norfolk Gem (NGM) London correspondent, Leslie Broom, capture these moving scenes.