Tribute paid in Gosport to those who died in the Great War

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MORE than 100 people paid tribute to those who died in the Great War in a moving ceremony.

Dignitaries and members of the public gathered at Gosport War Memorial Hospital in Bury Road and waited in silence for a short but moving service led by the Rev James Hair.

The commemoration service at Gosport War Memorial Hospital

The commemoration service at Gosport War Memorial Hospital

As the gathered crowds stood and prayed they remembered that exactly 100 years ago Britain launched into a conflict that would last four years and claim the lives of millions.

For 106-year-old Doris Hern it was a reminder of horrors of war.

She said: ‘It’s two world wars I’ve lived through and I know the horrors of both world wars. It’s very sad.’

But Doris, of Western Way, Gosport, said having the service outside the hospital was wonderful.

The hospital opened in 1923 after a fundraising effort to build it to mark the sacrifice many people in Gosport had made in the war.

Claire Lines, from the hospital’s league of friends group that organised the event, said: ‘It’s tremendous and important.

She said: ‘We thought it was important as we are the war memorial to commemorate this event. We didn’t expect it to be such an illustrious event.

‘We were delighted that the town hall joined us.’

Ms Lines read John McCrae’s 1915 poem In Flanders Field after the Union flag was lowered to the sound of former Royal Marines Band Service bugler James Christopher playing the Last Post.

The Royal Marines had a important role in building the hospital, as officers and men of the Royal Marines Light Infantry based at Forton Barracks gave a day’s pay to fund the building of the hospital.

Brigadier Bill Dunham was among those laying a wreath at the ceremony yesterday.

He said: ‘The Royal Marines were instrumental in the funding of this hospital.

‘It was apt that I was here to represent the corps.

‘It’s a great tribute that the league of friends has been here to recognise the day and invite us along to celebrate it.’

The mayor of Gosport Councillor Keith Gill also laid a wreath.

He said: ‘It was a short service but appropriate because this memorial hospital is Gosport’s memorial to the First World War.’