Paying his respects: A young wreath layer at Melton's Memorial Gardens last year.
Some of those who marched in the parade last year.
We will remember...
You young friskies who today
Jump and fight in Father’s hay
With bows and arrows and wooden spears,
Playing at Royal Welch Fusiliers,
Happy though these hours you spend,
Have they warned you how games end?
Boys, from the first time you prod
And thrust with spears of curtain-rod,
From the first time you tear and slash
Your long-bows from the garden ash,
Or fit your shaft with a blue jay feather,
Binding the split tops together,
From that same hour by fate you’re bound
As champions of this stony ground,
Loyal and true in everything,
To serve your Army and your King,
Prepared to starve and sweat and die
Under some fierce foreign sky,
If only to keep safe those joys
That belong to British boys,
To keep young Prussians from the soft
Scented hay of father’s loft,
And stop young Slavs from cutting bows
And bendy spears from Welsh hedgerows.
Another War soon gets begun,
A dirtier, a more glorious one;
Then, boys, you’ll have to play, all in;
It’s the cruellest team will win.
So hold your nose against the stink
And never stop too long to think.
Wars don’t change except in name;
The next one must go just the same,
And new foul tricks unguessed before
Will win and justify this War.
Kaisers and Czars will strut the stage
Once more with pomp and greed and rage;
Courtly ministers will stop
At home and fight to the last drop;
By the million men will die
In some new horrible agony;
And children here will thrust and poke,
Shoot and die, and laugh at the joke,
With bows and arrows and wooden spears,
Playing at Royal Welch Fusiliers.
The poem above is called The Next War and was written by Robert Graves who volunteered for active service at the outbreak of the First World War, aged 19, and went on to serve as a Captain in the Royal Welch Fusiliers.
It's thought-provoking, moving and a fitting reminder of the horrors of war as the nation prepares to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War this weekend.
And Melton Mowbray has been gearing itself up to commemorate the occasion. More than 200 giant plastic poppies have been put up on lamp-posts in the town centre which bear the names of the area's fallen on them as a special tribute to the sacrifice they made.
Melton Town Estate has set up a life-size silhouette of a British ‘Tommy’ at the Memorial Gardens to represent troops from the town who gave their lives in the conflict.
Above: The life-size silhouette of a British ‘Tommy’ outside St Mary's Church and below some of the perspex seated spaces 'Tommies' inside the church.
And another of the six foot high ghostly figures has been put up outside the West entrance of St Mary's Church. The figures are part of a fundraising campaign called ‘There But Not There’ which is hoping to raise in excess of £15m for armed forces and mental health charities.
In addition to these there will be a number of the 'Tommies', made from perspex, which are designed to fit into seated spaces, inside St Mary's Church for the annual Remembrance Sunday Service.
On Saturday, November 10th, an afternoon of Remembrance is being held in Melton Market Place from 12 noon until 3pm. Melton Town Band will be playing, there will be marquees, one of which will be run by Melton Carnegie Museum, a poppy stall and a pig roast and a number of First World War displays set up for the public to view.
The following day 400 people are expected to be marching in the annual Remembrance parade through Melton. Among them will be serving members of the armed forces, veterans, youth organisations including army cadets, town scouts, cubs, beavers and the air cadets from the 1279 (Melton Mowbray) ATC squadron, representatives of the emergency services, dignitaries and members of the town branches of the Royal British Legion and RAFA.
Taking the salute at last year's Remembrance Sunday Parade in Melton Mowbray.
The parade enters St Mary's Church, Melton Mowbray, last year.
Young and old alike are proud to march during the Remembrance Sunday Parade in Melton Mowbray.
The parade this year will be followed by a special evening service of commemoration and the lighting of a beacon in Play Close, part of a national effort to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War.
Hundreds of people are expected to be lining the streets as the parade sets off from Chapel Street at 10.20am before marching through the town to St Mary's Church, where the Remembrance Sunday Service will take place at 10.50am.
Bells will ring out before the morning service from 10am -10.45am and from 7.05pm -7.30pm as part of the beacon service.
After the morning service at about 12 noon the parade will reform in Burton Street and march off into the Market Place, where the salute will be taken, and then continue down Leicester Street into the Memorial Gardens, where wreaths will be laid from all the organisations taking part.
Then in the evening at 5.30pm a performance of “The Armed Man – A Mass For Peace” by Karl Jenkins will be performed by St Mary’s Church Choir and Melton Choral Society in the church. Everyone is welcome and Mayor of Melton, Cllr Pru Chandler and other civic dignitaries will be attending.
The civic party will then make its way to the beacon site in Play Close adjacent to ‘King’s Walk’ at 6.05pm.
At 6.15pm Melton Team Rector, the Revd Kevin Ashby will lead a short service of commemoration, including the hymn “O God Our Help in Ages Past” before the names of those killed in action are read out. The mayor will then read "Tribute to the Millions." To view a copy of this click here. (Please note: Times have had to be amended due to the increase in names which have been asked to read out).
This will be followed at 6.57pm by the Last Post played by Phil Hardy and the beacon will be lit at 7pm. The bells of St Mary’s Parish Church will then play Battle’s Over – Ringing Out for Peace at 7.05pm. Collections will be made to be divided equally between The Royal Naval Association, The Royal Naval Benevolent Fund, The Army's National Charity and The Merchant Navy Association.
*An Act of Remembrance will take place outside St Mary the Virgin Church, Thorpe Arnold, on Sunday, November 11th at 10.15am. The bells of the church will be rung three times, at 9.45am prior to the start of the service, at 11am to coincide with the actual time of the Armistice and at 12.30pm as part of a nationwide commemoration.
The ringing at 9.45am and 11am will be with the bells half-muffled, as befits a solemn occasion such as this, whilst the ringing at 12.30pm will be with bells un-muffled.
Several of the team who will be ringing have only recently been recruited as part of a national “Ringing Remembers” initiative in memory of the 1,400 bell ringers who are known to have died during World War One and they are keen to honour their memory in this way.
With regard to Thorpe Arnold itself, research has identified several men from the parish who died during the conflict. These included Captain Archibald Brocklehurst, who was born at "The Spinnies," a large house that stood where Thorpe Park estate is now, and the brothers Thomas and Fred Woodcock and their cousin, Ernest Woodcock, all three of whom went "over the top" together on 14th July, 1916 at the battle of the Somme and were hit by the same shell.
Thomas and Ernest were killed outright and Fred was badly injured. Sadly, although Fred recovered from his injuries, he was killed in March 1918. Records show that the family were regular churchgoers and members of the choir so it is very likely that Thomas, Fred and Ernest would take their turn ringing the church bells on a Sunday.
*An Act of Remembrance will also take place at St James' Church, Burton Lazars at 10.45am.
This is the beautifully decorated memorial in St Mary's Church, Melton Mowbray, to those who died in World War One. It is well worth taking the time to look at. The church is open to visitors from 10am until 2.30pm, Monday - Saturday.
*Remembering the fallen... click here to find out more.
*To download interesting facts about the First World War click here and here.