Armed Forces Day

Medals shone brightly on Saturday as Bexhill's veterans gathered outside St Augustine's Church to mark Armed Forces Day.

Monday, 29th June 2009, 10:41 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 7:58 pm

Old heroes who experienced all that war could offer waited alongside youthful cadets as they came together for the service led by Father Robert Coates, and attended by MP Greg Barker and Bexhill Town Mayor Bridget George.

The event was organised by Bexhill's Royal Naval Association and was the town's only celebration on Saturday.

Derrick Trew of the Royal Naval Association said: "No-one else was doing anything for Armed Forces Day, so chairman Eric Woodhouse suggested that we should do something ourselves. We wrote to various organisations and asked them if they would like to come, and Father Coates, who is our padre, agreed to held a service here."

Youngsters from Sea Cadets, Air Cadets, and Royal Marines took their places in pews alongside former servicemen and women as five standard bearers stood at the back ready to begin the ceremony. They marched solemnly up the centre aisle to present their standards with great dignity as the congregation sang the first hymn O God, Our Help In Ages Past.

Derrick commented of the event: "I think it is important to mark Armed Forces Day. The whole object of the exercise was that the Government wanted to bring the present armed forces into public focus...and we felt that something ought to happen here in Bexhill. We also wanted to try to get young people involved as we did on Trafalgar Day, so we asked all the cadets here too."

Father Coates added: "I think it is important that we give thanks for those who served in the armed forces in recent conflicts and years, and give active encouragement to younger people joining the armed forces as cadets. I think the country at the moment has a dire need of some form of identity for children, in order for them to find some form of fulfilment, and I think through the vehicle of the armed forces that many young people can obtain what they are looking for."