NAVY personnel from Portsmouth have told of their pride after they were asked to take part in this weekend’s Remembrance Sunday event in London.
It will see them parade through the capital to pay tribute to the servicemen and women who lost their lives defending the nation.
Leading Airman Tom Hardcastle, 32, grew up in Southsea.
The former St Edmund’s Catholic School pupil said the day would be a chance to remember his friend, Royal Marine David O’Connor, who was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2012.
He said: ‘I don’t want to make any mistakes and I want to do myself proud, my family proud and obviously do the service and the nation proud.’
Able Seaman Alisha Heads is the youngest member heading to London’s Cenotaph.
The 18-year-old, who is based at HMS Nelson in Portsmouth, only completed her phase two basic training a few months ago.
She said: ‘I was really overwhelmed to be told I was going to be part of this.
‘It’s something I’ve watched every year and it’s something that I’m proud to be doing.’
Warrant Officer Dickie Henderson, who lives in Portsmouth, has been in charge of getting the team into shape for the past three weeks.
I was really overwhelmed to be told I was going to be part of this.Able Seaman Alisha Heads, 18
However, this squad is the final one he will instruct before he takes up his new role of executive officer of HMS Victory, next month.
WO Henderson said: ‘When I take them out on to the Cenotaph for the last time this year, standing at ease and the royal family then comes out and I see the pan shot coming down from the BBC camera – it is going to be a proud moment.’
Locally there will be plenty going on to mark remembrance.
In Portsmouth there is a service taking place in Guildhall Square from 10am.
The Royal British Legion Riders Branch is hosting its own event at the war memorial on Southsea Common from 10.45am.
Scores of motorbike and scooter riders are expected to join.
Later, the city’s branch of the Royal British Legion will hold a service at St Mary’s Church, in St Mary’s Road, from 3pm.
There will also be free entry to the First World War Remembrance Centre at Fort Widley. There will be a two-minute silence on Sunday at 11am and the ACP band playing from 2pm until about 4pm.
In Havant, the town’s mayor Leah Turner and deputy lieutenant of Hampshire, David Frere-Cook will lay a wreath at the war memorial at Saint Faith’s Church, at 10.52am.
It will take place directly after the parade from the Ex-Servicemen’s Club, in Brockhampton Lane to the war memorial.
In Hayling Island there will be a parade from 10.35am, heading from Mengham car park to the memorial in Elm Grove.
This will be followed by a march and service at St James’ Church, in Church Path, Emsworth, at 2.30pm.
Gosport will be staging its event from 11am at the War Memorial Hospital, in Bury Road. A guard of honour from HMS Sultan will form up at 10.30am. They will be joined by Scouts, Guides, Sea and Air Cadets and other guests.
Lee-on-the-Solent’s ceremony will run concurrently on the seafront at the war memorial.
Fareham’s Holy Trinity Church, in West Street will host its own service, with a parade marching from the Duke of Connaught’s Own Club in Western Road to the church at 10am.