Generations gather to remember those who died in conflict

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GENERATIONS of families stood side by side as the Guildhall bells marked a poignant two-minute silence.

The Remembrance Sunday event attracted hundreds of people to Portsmouth’s Guildhall Square yesterday to honour the war dead and veterans.

Among the many families watching and taking part in the service was D-Day veteran Albert Lilly, 93, and his grandson Jack Metcalfe, 17.

Jack is in the Air Training Corps and is the Lord Mayor’s cadet. He laid a wreath at the memorial.

His grandfather Albert, who was a Royal Engineer, said: ‘It was a great service. I am very proud of Jack. It is always nice to come along to this event, I have been coming here for years.’

They were with Jack’s mum Sara, from Copnor. She said: ‘I am very proud of both of them. It is right that we should remember.’

The service saw a parade of service personnel and youth organisations led by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines.

Veterans, led by the Portsmouth Citadel Salvation Army Band, paraded on to the Square, to a warm applause, before a service on the Guildhall steps was led by the Very Reverend David Brindley, Dean of Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral, and Father James McAuley of St John’s Roman Catholic Church.

Wreaths were then laid at the war memorials by people from across the community, including Jean Louth, from Havant, who successfully campaigned to have a memorial featuring the names of 3,436 people – military and civilian – who died during the war, added at the Guildhall.

Watching the service from the front row was Gulf war veteran Allen Parton, who suffered serious head injuries during the conflict, including memory loss. After he found comfort and help from an assistance dog called Endal, Allen, from Clanfield, set up charity Hounds for Heroes.

He was at yesterday’s service with assistance dogs Endal Jnr and Rookie, who know nearly 1,000 commands.

Allen, 57, said: ‘There are a lot of servicemen and women ending their lives as they feel like a burden.

‘Coming to days like these, to me, is a moment of reflection.

‘I use the two minutes to remember the fallen and those injured, disabled or traumatised.

‘By coming to events like this, the public are giving the message that they care.’