Royal Navy: Sailors to honour lost loved ones as they prepare for National Service of Remembrance at HMS Excellent
Sailors and marines were put through their paces at HMS Excellent in Whale Island, Portsmouth, today, ahead of the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London. Molly Tellis, 19, Able Seaman (AB), hopes to make her grandmother Lesley Tellis and grandfather Kenneth Jones proud, as they both served in the Army.
“I used to attend remembrance services in my hometown”, she told The News, “it gets more emotional every year I go. When I was younger, I didn't fully understand it, but now I do and I just want to pay my respects.
"I knew my nan very well. She didn’t like to talk about service too much, as it was a dark time in her life, and I totally respect that. I can’t wait to do it and I hope they are watching down on me.”
Sailors marched in tight formation and practiced the songs remembrance – obeying orders to keep their arms as straight as possible. The National Anthem was then performed with passion and conviction.
For Warrant Officer 1 Darren ‘Eddie’ Wearing MVO MBE – State Ceremonial Training Officer (SCTO) – these memorial services will be his last in the role. He is the force’s longest serving SCTO, being in position since 2015 – mentoring and training sailors for services such as Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral and King Charles III’s coronation.
The 48-year-old said serving in the role has been an honour and a privilege. "It’s a bittersweet moment,” he added. “Remembrance is always special for me due to the importance of it and this was the event that I would have liked to leave on. It set itself up perfectly.
"It’s about remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Especially within our team, military ethos is everything, and part of that ethos is instilled in all of us.”
WO1 Wearing said it’s a very special feeling seeing a trained unit march along The Mall – the ceremonial route which passes between Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square. He will be replaced by Warrant Officer 1 Glynn Moffat – who believes ceremonial training gives sailors the perfect grounding for future deployments.
He said: “I did this when I was a young AB 22 years ago, and it’s a very similar programme. They’ll be ready. There is a bit of panache and polish to add, but they’ll represent the Navy and be proud to do so.
“It is training self discipline, which is the benchmark of all training we do. If you speak to anyone who has done ceremonial events, and ask them the question of ‘did they enjoy it’ and ‘did it change them as an individual’, I can guarantee you 100 per cent of them will say yes.”
WO1 Moffat said these services give him chance to reflect on the friends he’s lost in past conflicts. Euan Green, 23, AB, said memorial services mean a lot to everyone in the navy.
He said: “Once you’re in the military, you have to accept these things and realise they are important, and everyone feels like that. It’s a chance to remember the past but also people serving currently. It’s important to represent them and those in the past.”