Lest we forgot those who gave their lives on the battlefield

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WE should never forget.

War veterans are assisted at the parade in Guildhall Square in Portsmouth''Picture:  Malcolm Wells (151108-1025)

War veterans are assisted at the parade in Guildhall Square in Portsmouth''Picture: Malcolm Wells (151108-1025)

So said D-Day veteran Arthur Bailey, as he joined thousands of others across the Portsmouth area remembering those who gave their lives in conflict.

He was in Guildhall Square yesterday with dozens of other veterans, civic and religious leaders and serving forces personnel.

The 91-year-old, who lives in Cosham, said the service was a poignant reminder.

He said: ‘It means an awful lot to us because we lost a lot of people and you could never forget it.

D-Day veteran Arthur Bailey from Cosham''Picture:  Malcolm Wells (151108-0622)

D-Day veteran Arthur Bailey from Cosham''Picture: Malcolm Wells (151108-0622)

‘When you come here, you think of all your people, your friends you’ve lost – it automatically happens to you.’

This year the service was led by the Very Reverend David Brindley, Dean of Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral and Father John Paul Lyttle of St John’s Roman Catholic Cathedral.

The Royal Marines Collingwood Band led the parade in to the square with veterans, sailors, Cadets and Scouts in attendance.

Mr Bailey, who landed at Gold beach on D-Day, added: ‘I look forward to it every year – it’s a wonderful occasion.’

A gun fired at Fort Nelson on Portsdown Hill started yesterday’s two minutes’ silence at 11am.

In Fareham, hundreds of children united to parade through the town’s heart – much to the delight of ex-servicemen watching.

Falklands veteran Graham McCormick’s chest swelled with pride as he watched his 10-year-old grandson Dylan march through West Street with the Collingwood Sea Cadets.

The 75-year-old, of Gosport said: ‘It was an emotional day. I’m so proud of him.’

Mr McCormick, who was in the Royal Navy for 22 years added his son David was already in the navy and hoped Dylan might be the third generation to join the service.

In Gosport, hundreds joined to pay their respects at the War Memorial Hospital in Bury Road.

Lieutenant Colonel Adam Shorrocks was at the ceremony and said: ‘It’s so heartening to see all the support.’

Other ceremonies took place in Havant, Waterlooville and Emsworth, as well as at Southsea’s naval war memorial, with scores of people paying their respects at each.

Portchester started the remembrance services across the area, as each year its service is held on Saturday rather than Sunday. The precinct came to a stop as the service was held by Portchester’s war memorial.

Hymns were sung and readings and poems read, before wreathes were laid out and a silence was held.

Fred Stock, 71, of Cosham, but originally from Portchester, went to pay his respects. He said: ‘It was a good service and it brought tears to my eyes.

‘It’s a good way to pay your respects and remember those who died for us.’

On Friday the Portsmouth and Gosport district branch of the National Association of Retired Police Officers held a memorial in the Guildhall to remember those who gave their lives in the First and Second World Wars.