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Wreaths laid in honour of fallen heroes at First World War battle
WAR heroes who fought in the Battle of Gheluvelt were commemorated at a wreath-laying service in Worcester yesterday.
More than 100 people turned out for the service at the memorial in Gheluvelt Park to commemorate the 99th anniversary of the battle, one of the most important of the First World War.
Canon Paul Tongue, who led the service, recalled the battle of October 31, 1914, before reading out the names of the 34 men of the 2nd Battalion The Worcestershire Regiment who were killed.
Their counter-attack saved Ypres from capture and the British Army from defeat.
Wreaths were laid by dignitaries including Mayor of Worcester Pat Agar Worcester MP Robin Walker, the Worcester Branch of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regimental Association (WFRA) and representatives from the Royal British Legion.
Captain Martyn Chatterley, of Redditch, who laid a wreath on behalf of the 2nd Battalion the Mercian Regiment, said he was proud to be part of the service.
“It’s a great honour to be invited to come and lay a wreath on behalf of the battalion,” he said.
A bugler sounded the Last Post before a two-minute silence was observed.
Remembrance poem For the Fallen was read out along with The Kohima Epitaph, before prayers were said for those who died in the First and Second World Wars and those currently serving in Afghanistan.
The Mayor also paid tribute to the soldiers’ “gallant actions” and said it was a “tremendous honour” to be at the service.
Richard Fox, president of the Worcester branch of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regimental Association, said: “It’s always a moving occasion to commemorate Gheluvelt.
“If they hadn’t won the Battle of Gheluvelt, the Germans could have reached the channel ports and maybe changed the whole course of the war.”
Harold Massam, chairman of the Worcester branch of the WFRA which organised the event, said: “These lads have given their lives. It’s a special day for the regiment.
“They were fighting up there and the Germans were winning. Major Hankey decided to counter attack.
“Next year we are hoping to have his relations to come to the service. Anybody whose grandfathers were in the battle are also welcome. They are welcome to get in touch with us on 01905 356537.”
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