Sunday, November 08, 2009

Silvertown Remembrance March & Service: Abide with me

Today there were 4 Remembrance Services in Newham. This year I went to the Royal British Legion (North Woolwich & Silvertown Branch) Service. There was a march from the Legion club in Constance Street E16 starting off promptly at 10.30am.

At the head of the possession was a Pipe and Drums band and bringing up the rear a London Fire Brigade engine. As well Royal Legion veterans, supporters and ordinary members of the public there were serving soldiers from the Rifles, a Royal Marine and representatives from all the emergency services.

Councillor Amarjit Singh was there in his role as Chair of the Council. I walked with local Royal Docks ward Councillors Patrick Murphy, Stephen Brayshaw and Anthony McAlmont. I estimated that there were about 150 people in the procession. We marched to the St Marks War Memorial in Factory Road. This is in the grounds of what is now the Brick Lane Musical Hall.

There was an outdoor service and luckily the weather held out for us. The first hymn was one of my favourites (even though I clearly did not know all the words) “Abide with me”. Then we had prayers and the "Last Post” before the two minute silence at 11am. After Reveille there were poems read out followed by the laying of wreaths. The final hymn was “O God in Ages Past” then the National Anthem and a blessing. Next was was coffee and cakes (treacle tart!) inside the Musical Hall (which I have not been to before – but must return to see the show).

I enjoyed the sight of elderly veterans shaking hands and talking to the present day soldiers and marines. Over coffee I was speaking to one man who could remember as a local child listening to Doodlebugs (German V1 rockets) flying overhead then their engines cutting out and the rocket falling down and exploding. Outside I was asked to take a photograph of a family in front of the memorial. Their great-grandfather was one of the servicemen named on it.

Despite the weather the attendance this year was apparently much larger than in previous years which I think is for fairly obvious reasons. After a little while we formed up again and marched to the footbridge where we “fell out” and were invited to come back to the Legion Clubhouse.

On my way home I stopped off at the local Fire station and took a photo of the plaque remembering the firemen and their families who were killed in the nearby Silvertown explosion in 1917. An unsafe wartime factory producing TNT high explosives blew up and flattened the local area killing 73 and injured over 400.

My usual favourite memory of today was during the two minute silence when in this solemn and very serious time we all paid our respects in our different ways all you could hear was the lovely sounds of a little innocent baby happily cooing and babbling away in the arms of a no doubt slightly embarrassed Mum.


Anonymous said...

Only you would take a specific Labour councillor shot at a Remembrance service John.

Shocking! Will that be another leaflet coup where Labour denigrate the day for the party leaflet

Anonymous said...

the TNT used in the explosives dyed the munition girls skin yellow

Thus they were known as as "canaries"

that and their hair and teeth falling out


"We are the Hayes Munition girls
Working night and day
Wearing the roses off our cheeks
For very little pay
Some people call us lazy
But were next to the boys on the sea
If it was'nt for the munitions girls
Where would the Empire be ?"

Anonymous said...

local tories in our area put a wreath in their name on the memorial a number of british legion complained

turning remeberance day into party political event

of course mps and councillors shouls attend

Mike Law said...

@ anon 17:08

That's quite worrying, what exactly was the nature of their complaint?

Was it just the fact that they were Conservatives?

Wonder what Winston Churchill would have made of it?

Anonymous said...

The Tories have laid wreathes in the area for years. Nothing new.

A common practice for most parties, hence the Legion make wreaths with the party badges on.

Maybe it was more a case of Labour not bothering to show their respect and just relying on the Town Hall to pay for theirs

John Gray said...

Hi Anons/Mike

Please keep political point scoring off this post.

Mike Law said...

"Please keep political point scoring off this post."

I keep forgetting, that's your role.

John Gray said...

Hi Mike

You and et al are being IMO disrespectful I think.

Mike Law said...

Really, how?

John Gray said...

Hi Mike

Read the comments. If you don't get it well...

Mike Law said...

I don't see anything that's disrespectful... can you explain what IS disrespectful.

This is a comments page on a blog; one comment follows another... what are you on about?

If any other reader of these comments can tell what's bothered John, would you please let me know.

Anonymous said...

i think john means that you should not make cheap political points on such non partizen posts.

Mike Law said...

@ Anon 9:16

What cheap political points?

If you're referring to my question about why the British Legion complained about a Tory wreath (if they in fact did), I don't see how a query responds to a political point.

Non-partisan post - re-read the first three paragraphs.

Anonymous said...

The Prime Minister has apologised for his pictures, will you?

John Gray said...

Hi anon

Nope? Why on earth should I? I would expect Cllrs of any democratic political party to be at their ward Remembrance event and I would expect their presence to be reported?

I really don't know what is wrong with you people?