Streets of Peterborough and Stamford were filled on Remembrance Sunday as citizens and townsfolk joined with Royal Air Force Wittering to mark the hundredth armistice.
Bridge Street in Peterborough was almost impassable as close to one thousand people joined with serving personnel, veterans and cadets to mark a century since the guns fell silent in 1918 and to remember the fallen. Poignantly, the sacrifices of the First World War and every subsequent conflict are commemorated on Remembrance Sunday.
The beautiful Norman cathedral in Peterborough was the venue for a service of remembrance. The Bishop of Peterborough, the Right Reverend Donald Allister, asked the congregation to remember all those who had lost their lives in war including volunteers, conscripts and civilians, and to remember war but seek peace.
Warrant Officer Nigel Gurney is the acting Station Warrant Officer at RAF Wittering. He said: “2018 is not only the one hundredth anniversary of the first armistice back in 1918, but also the centenary of the Royal Air Force and it really seems to have struck a chord. We’re just overwhelmed by the level of support in Peterborough today.”
In the days before Sunday’s act of remembrance, Warrant Officer Gurney and his team spent hours in drill rehearsals, making sure the parades were immaculately dressed and inch-perfect.
In historic Stamford the people were no less keen to show their support. Record crowds lined Broad Street as the immaculate parade from RAF Wittering was brought to attention outside Browne’s Hospital. For Group Captain Tony Keeling, Station Commander at RAF Wittering, it was an especially significant moment.
The Station Commander said: “As ever, the people of Stamford have done us proud. On Remembrance Sunday we call to mind the sacrifices made by those from all three services in the cause of freedom. Many people here serve, and have served, in the Royal Air Force and we rightly commemorate that century of service to this country.”
85 Expeditionary Logistics Wing led the commemorations in Wittering village and 504 Squadron, RAF Wittering’s reserve unit, marked the armistice in Oakham. Other Station personnel supported remembrance services in the many surrounding villages and towns.
Earlier in the week No 2 Mechanical Transport Squadron returned to Newborough as the village and its primary school held a special service of remembrance on Friday 9th. This year the armistice has been a special theme for the school and the pupils have made and drawn their own poppies.
Group Captain Keeling concluded: “Wherever we have been, people have turned out in tremendous numbers to support their Armed Forces. I cannot tell you how much the support of our nearby communities means, when we are commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the armistice and century of Royal Air Force service.”