AGE shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. Tomorrow, thousands will pause to remember Worcestershire’s fallen heroes killed in Britain’s wars and conflicts.
From battlefields stretching from the dusty badlands of Afghanistan, and the streets of Northern Ireland to the stifling jungles of Burma in the Second World War, Worcestershire men and women have served with bravery, heroism and good humour.
Many came home, but others did not and remain buried in graveyards in the countries where they fell, from India, and Palestine in the East, to France in the West.
As the county’s own infantry unit, the 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters), prepares again to send a veteran company back to the Afghan theatre next year, the cause of remembrance will feel particularly close to home for the family and friends they prepare to leave behind.
When the church bells toll their sad lament ushering in the two-minute silence at 11am, there will be time to reflect on the heroic sacrifice of all Britain’s fighting fallen.
Among them, those who have died in the continuing conflict in Afghanistan which has so far claimed 437 lives: 23-year-old Worcester man Private Jason Williams, of 2 Mercian, killed while retrieving a comrade’s body in August 2009.
SAS reservist Lance Corporal Richard Larkin of Cookley, near Kidderminster, died with three other comrades in an IED bomb blast in June 2008.
In July 2009, Afghanistan claimed the lives of two 18-year-old men: Pte Robbie Laws, from Bromsgrove, killed serving with 2 Mercian when an RPG hit his vehicle, and Rifleman William Aldridge, of 2nd Battalion The Rifles, from Bromyard in Herefordshire, killed by an IED blast in Sangin.
In September 2009 an IED also claimed the life of Lance Corporal Richard Brandon, of the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.
As the end of a year in which we marked the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War draws to a close, it also marks the end of an era as the last First World War veteran to have served in uniform, Florence Green, passed away in a Norfolk care home in February. Remembrance services around the county on Sunday: WORCESTER lWorcester Cathedral service at 10am followed by a wreath-laying at the memorial.
St John in Bedwardine service from 10am, and wreath-laying.
Parade from Church Hall in Cornmeadow Lane, Claines, at 10.20am, with wreath-laying and service to follow at St John the Baptist Claines Church.
St George’s Singers Remembrance Concert at 7.30pm on Saturday, November 17 at St George’s Church, Barbourne.
MALVERN Great Malvern Library War Memorial service at 10.45am, with parade to follow and Malvern Priory service at 3pm.
Malvern Male Voice Choir perform at Church of the Ascension in Somers Park Avenue, at 7pm.
DROITWICH Parade from Victoria Square at 10.30am, with wreath-laying at 10.45am and service at St Andrew’s Church at 11.15am.
EVESHAM At 10.15am, parade assembles before marching off from Market Square along Bridge Street to Abbey Park war memorial via Crown Courtyard and Abbey Park. Service at All Saints’ Church follows the wreath-laying.
PERSHORE Parade marches off from leisure centre at 10.15am, with wreath-laying and service at Pershore Abbey at 10.45am.
Wreath-laying takes place in the memorial garden in Abbey Park, prior to the parade.
remembrance tributes: pages 32 and 33