FALLEN soldiers and prisoners-of-war from across Europe were remembered during a moving service at a city cemetery.

Veterans in military regalia, standard bearers, young and old, stood shoulder to shoulder at the service in Astwood Cemetery in Worcester on Sunday (November 19).

Together, they planted crosses at each grave in an intensely personal and intimate ceremony.

Wreaths were laid at the War Memorial by dignitaries at the annual Service of Remembrance to honour the memory of the 154 servicemen who died as a result of their war service, and who now lie in Astwood Cemetery under the care of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

There are 95 burials from the First World War and 46 from the Second World War, some of them forming a small plot.

The majority of these burials are of servicemen from the United Kingdom, but there are also three Poles, one Canadian and one Czech.

Tomasz Wisniewski of the Worcestershire Polish Association said: "We remember with gratitude their sacrifice in the cause of freedom.

"We also remember the five German and three Italian servicemen who died for a cause their governments believed in, but with whom we are now reconciled."

Organised by Robert McCarthy on behalf of the Royal British Legion, the service was an opportunity to remember all those who fell in war, but particularly prisoners of war, whatever their allegiance.

Mr Wisniewski said: "Old enmities were put aside and in a service which emphasised our common humanity and the value of peace.

"We should never take our freedoms for granted and we should understand that with those freedoms come great responsibilities, those we should pass on from generation to generation so freedom’s light will forever burn in the hearts and minds of every community.

"The service began with a promise made to the parents of a German prisoner of war to lay a wreath at his grave.

"In 1962, the mother of a young German soldier called Karl Fuest, born January 11, 1905, died at Ronkswood Hospital in Worcester on February 21, 1947 contacted the Royal British Legion to ask if they would lay flowers on her son’s grave.

"Since then, the Royal British Legion has held a service of remembrance.

"At a ceremony built on a promise kept for more than half a century was a chance to remember Polish, British, and allied soldiers, who could not be repatriated, all those who fell in war, prisoners of war, their families and emphasised a message of peace."

Jean and David Waldron (RBL), deputy mayor councillor Mel Allcott, and representatives of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment Association were among those who took part.

Mr Wisniewski said: "We showed our respect for buried soldiers who gave their today for our tomorrow – the ultimate sacrifice, and what a responsibility that places on us to honour that sacrifice.

"Poles provided significant contributions to the Allied effort throughout the war, fighting on land, sea and air”.

“I have learned that we can find good answers even to difficult questions if we always try to view the world through the eyes of others. If we respect other people’s history, traditions, religion, and identity."