What we do 

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Above and below: VE Sunday celebrations in Melton Mowbray on May 13th, 1945.

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Send us your wartime memories


This year's Remembrance Day Service and Parade on November 11th will be even more poignant than usual because it will mark 100 years to the day that hostilities ceased and the guns finally fell silent to mark the end of the First World War.

Church bells will ring out across the UK throughout the day, just as they did in 1918 to mark the end of the war. Here in Melton Mowbray muffled bells will be heard from St Mary's Church at 11am and then they will be unmuffled when they ring out again at 7pm. A beacon will be lit in Play Close and round town giant poppies with the names of the fallen will appear on lamp standards.

The annual Remembrance Sunday celebrations in London will be expanded this year, with families of First World War veterans allowed to march past the Cenotaph to commemorate the sacrifice of their loved ones, with an extra 10,000 places allocated to the relatives of those who died in the conflict.

During the 10.50am Remembrance Service in St Mary's Church, Melton Mowbray, pictures of wartime celebrations will be shown on the big screen and that's why we are asking for anyone who have may have such pictures or any wartime memories which we can use to get in touch with us.

We have some pictures from the First World War, and we welcome more, but we are particularly interested in any pictures or memories of VE Day celebrations in Melton Mowbray which marked the end of the Second World War.  If you think you can help us send your memories or pictures to Website Editor Phil Balding by email at: philloveskaren@yahoo.co.uk or call him on 01664 564227.

Meanwhile, Melton is set to be transformed into spectacles of pomp and splendour this year with colourful parades to celebrate the centenaries of two military organisations.

Horse riders dressed in First World War uniforms will accompany a march through the town on Friday (July 27th) to mark the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC). The parade, at 10.30am, will also be special because of the regiment’s long association with the town at the Vet Camp. More than 300 people will take part, including past and present RAVC personnel, military organisations and Great War riders on horseback. Military working dogs will also be in the parade, along with horse drawn vehicles from the First World War and a marching band. 

And on September 16, the traditional annual Battle of Britain parade through Melton will be a much bigger event than usual to promote the centenary of the Royal Air Force. This year’s parade will incorporate a service at St Mary’s Church, as well as wreath-laying and dedications in the Memorial Gardens on Wilton Road.

The parade will be longer than usual to mark the special anniversary of the formation of the RAF, which came after the amalgamation of the Army Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service in April 1918, towards the end of the Great War. Participants will form up in Chapel Street at 10am before marching through the town to the church, where the Revd Kevin Ashby will lead a service and standards and wreaths will be received. A wreath-laying ceremony will follow with a short service led by ATC Wing Padre Rev John Hewer and the sounding of the Last Post and Reveille.


 

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(War, what is it good for?) Absolutely nothing, chanted Edwin Starr in 1970. It was a catchy tune with lyrics which annoyed most people that you sang them to after a time or two.

I was 15 at the time and didn't really take much notice of the words, but I was scrolling through them recently and thought it worth a mention. It goes as follows:


(War, what is it good for?) Absolutely nothing
(War, what is it good for?) Absolutely nothing
(War, what is it good for?) Absolutely nothing

[Verse 1]
War is something that I despise
Because it means destruction of innocent lives
War means tears in thousands of mothers' eyes
When their sons go out to fight and lose their lives
I said

(War) good God y'all
(What is it good for?) Absolutely nothing, say it again
(War, what is it good for?) Absolutely nothing

[Verse 2]
(War), It ain't nothing but a heartbreaker
(War), Friend only to the undertaker
War is the enemy of all mankind
The thought of war blows my mind
War has caused unrest, within the younger generation
Induction then destruction. Who wants to die?

(War) good God y'all
(What is it good for?) Absolutely nothing, say it, say it, say it
(War, what is it good for?) Absolutely nothing.

The words came screaming back to me as I took a look at the interpretation boards in the Egerton Lodge Memorial Gardens recently which provide a timeline of the Great War (1914-1918), and also detail the names, ranks, regiments and ages of local men who fell, the dates they were killed and photos of some of the heroes. The details of these 247 servicemen are listed on the boards, alongside pictures of the stone plaques at the war memorial which bear their names.


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Above and below: Some of the interpretation boards in the Egerton Lodge Memorial Gardens.

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It is a stark reminder of the horrors which these young men faced with great courage and bravery and of the sacrifice they made for us. The
message is clear: we must never, ever forget what they did for their country... and us. If you have the time, they are well worth a visit.

So, what can we do to keep these brave people's memories alive? Buy a poppy when Remembrance Day draws near, and wear it with pride. And pause a while and think of the great sacrifice that the people mentioned above, and all the others who laid down their lives for their country, made in the battles for freedom and democracy.

And  join hundreds of people who are expected to line the streets of Melton Mowbray for this year's Remembrance Sunday parade on November 11th. More details will be available about the day soon. Watch this space. In the meantime, Anne Starr's poem explains why she wears her poppy with pride...

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WHY DO I WEAR A POPPY?

By Anne Starr

Why do I wear a poppy?
I’ll tell you if I may,
Because I believe remembrance
Is not only for one day.
I wear it for the fallen,
And for those falling still.
For those who come back broken
In body or in will.
For the parents, spouses, siblings
Where bereavement takes its toll.
Whose pain will never leave them,
It eats into their soul.
For the wino on the corner,
Of his old life nothing’s left.
Now he wishes when in battle
He had died a hero’s death.
For the lad who loved a kick-about
In the park with all his mates,
But now his legs are held together
With pins and metal plates.
For the selfless men and women
Whose final journey home
Is in a Union flag-draped coffin
On comrades’ shoulders borne.
For all those marching proudly
In Remembrance Day parades.
My poppy’s worn in gratitude
For the sacrifice they made.

 

 

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