EVERY year that Remembrance Day is marked ceremonies are special – but this year, to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War, people in Havant could feel the poignancy of the commemorations.
Those wanting to pay their respects lined the streets of the town centre for the Community Act of Remembrance parade, organised by the Havant branch of the Royal British Legion.
It began at the Ex Servicemens Club and many marched through roads such as West Street, Elm Lane and North Street, before reaching St Faith’s Church where ceremonies took place inside and outside.
Ken Smith, councillor and president of the Havant branch of the legion, said: ‘All members of the legion marched as veterans.
‘The 12th Regiment Royal Artillery took part along with Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, cadets, standard-bearers – lots of people participated.
‘We appreciated very much the people on the streets clapping as we walked past, it was really quite gratifying to see that.
‘I’ve been coming for the last 15 years and every year there’s something bigger. It was different this year, you could feel it was the 100-year special.’
Wreaths were laid outside the church at the Havant War Memorial. The names of the 103 on the memorial were read aloud as a special testament to the 100th anniversary.
A son and grandson took part in the commemorations in honour of their loved one Sapper George Thomas Hearn, from Portsmouth, who was in the Royal Signals.
Tim Hearn, 56, took his dad William Hearn, 86,to the ceremony, and said: ‘In August 1914 my granddad was one of the first 100,000 soldiers that went to war.
‘He was from Copnor and left from Southampton on a ship and died in 1978.
‘He went all the way through and took part in most battles, that’s why we have come along. The service was lovely, really fitting.’
Gary Morton, who was in the Royal Military Police for nine years, attended the Havant commemorations for the first time.
The 53-year-old said: ‘I usually go to Portsmouth Guildhall and I’ve seen photographs of the Havant Remembrance before but it really was quite something to be here. I’m hugely impressed.’
‘The names of those who have served being read out as the clock struck 11am was very moving.’
Havant MP Alan Mak marched with the parade and after the church ceremony said: ‘It was very moving and in this 100th anniversary year I think the public’s support for our veterans and armed forces has been unprecedented.
‘Across the constituency we’ve seen some very moving tributes from the poppy cascade at Hayling to the service at St Faith’s.’