HUNDREDS of people gathered to pay their respects at a memorial service today.
The event in Portchester shopping precinct has been held on the Saturday before Remembrance Sunday for the last 12 years.
Organiser Commander Steve Shaw, from the Royal Navy, said: ‘It is becoming quite a tradition in Portchester.
‘We initially wanted to organised a service on Remembrance Sunday but there was no room at the inn, so we did it on the Saturday before and it was very popular.
‘It has become a real community event and all the groups like the cadets, brownies and scouts get involved.
‘It is nice to see so many people take part.’
Saturday’s event drew a big crowd to watch the service.
Fareham’s MP Mark Hoban read the poem ‘Who Are These Men.’
Mr Hoban said: ‘It is an opportunity for the whole community to come together and to take part in an act of remembrance and for things to stop and for people to remember. With Portchester’s strong links to the sea and to the Royal Navy, it is particularly important that people have this opportunity to pay their respects together.’
Mayor of Fareham David Norris was at the ceremony with his mayoress and wife Pamela.
Cllr Norris read the poem ‘We Shall Keep the Faith’ to the gathered crowds before laying a wreath at the memorial stone.
He said: ‘It is particularly poignant as it is 100 years since the start of the First World War but I don’t think that we should forget that we are here to remember other conflicts too like the Falklands and Afghanistan.’
Ward councillor Roger Price addressed the crowd and reminded them of the good work the Royal British Legion does to support servicemen and women.
Cllr Price said: ‘It is for us to remember all our servicemen and woman who have been injured or who have sacrificed their lives for us or other people in the world.’
Portchester resident Beryl Turp was at the ceremony to remember her father Harry Goodchild, who died in May 1940.
Mr Goodchild was in the Royal Army Service Corps when he was sent to France and 10 weeks later he was killed aged 25.
Mrs Turp, 80, said: ‘Services like this make the younger generation realise the fatalities of war. Considering the cold weather it has been a very good and moving service.’
Mrs Turp was accompanied by her son-in-law Stewart Caig, a Royal Navy veteran,
Mr Caig, 56, said: ‘It is very important that we remember what they did. I have come to this service every year since it started. It always makes you think.’
A remembrance service will also take place tomorrow at 10am at St Mary’s Church, in Portchester Castle.