RECORDS were broken as an unprecedented number of people rallied to join Fareham’s Remembrance Sunday event.
The swell of public support stunned military leaders and councillors – with the head of HMS Collingwood declaring family and friends ‘deserved as much recognition’ as their loved ones in the forces
Commander Jonathan Pearce, 46, was joined by children from across the community to lay wreaths at the town's war memorial.
He said: ‘It's a huge privilege to be at the parade and lay a wreath for all of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
'But its also important to recognise all of those who support us in the armed forces – our family and friends. Without them it would be a much more difficult job for us to do. They deserve as much recognition as us.'
Councillor Sean Woodward, Fareham Borough Council leader, said the Armistice Day turnout was ‘incredible’, adding: ‘I've been attending Remembrance events in Fareham for over 30 years and that was the biggest crowd that I have seen.’
The names of the 405 Fareham residents killed serving the nation were read out during a ceremony at the town’s war memorial, outside Holy Trinity Church, in West Street.
The Remembrance procession included members of the Royal Naval Cadets of HMS Collingwood and 229 Squadron Air Training Corps, as well as veterans of recent conflicts.
Vanessa Neilson, side drummer in the procession's marching band and RAF air traffic controller in Basra during the Iraq War, said: 'I think recent conflicts can be forgotten.
'Thankfully, we have the British Legion, RAFA, and Help For Heroes - the list goes on and on. They all do a great job.
In very military areas, veterans tend to get help because people are more aware of the issues.'
This year’s commemoration came as the nation fell silent for two minutes to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.