Horsham Remembrance Services this Sunday
Martin Read – Reporter
Down the centuries Horsham’s ancient Carfax – the heart of the town – has seen many celebrations and ceremonies, but the one this Sunday – the Horsham Remembrance Sunday Service – will be even more poignant than ever. This year’s service marks the precise 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, ending World War One hostilities between the Allies and Germany on land sea and air. The Great War was known as the war to end all wars, but, as we are only too painfully aware, the 1918 armistice – signed in a carriage of the private train of Marshal of France, Ferdinand Foch, the Allied Supreme Commander, in the Forest of Compiegne – has not eliminated wars, a further devastating war breaking out 21 years later, followed by current simultaneous conflicts around the globe. Sunday’s open air service will be conducted adjacent to the Horsham War Memorial, framed as it is with railings topped with iconic poppies, the enduring symbol of the common field flower commemorating military personnel who have died in wars, inspired by the World War 1 poem “In Flanders Fields”. The seven large displays at Horsham’s War Memorial record those – ‘in proud and grateful memory’ – who made the ultimate sacrifice, including the listing of a number of well known family names from around the district.
At Sunday’s always moving public service a number of local organisations will be participating, including the Royal British Legion and representatives of armed service and youth organisations, with the parade arriving at the War Memorial at approximately 10.50 am. The short service will be led by The Rev. David Bouskill, beginning with the apposite hymn “O God our Help in Ages Past.” The playing of The Last Post will follow, after which the Vicar will lead the Exhortation – a touching extract from Robert Laurence Binyon’s World War 1 poem: “They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them”
The two minutes’ silence in memory of the fallen will be held at 11am, at the end of which Councillor Peter Burgess, the Chairman of Horsham District Council, will lead the laying of wreaths on behalf of the people of our district, subsequent wreaths being laid by Nigel Caplin, Chairman of the Royal British Legion Horsham Branch, Jeremy Quin, the town’s MP, and Councillor Brad Watson of West Sussex County Council. At the conclusion of the wreath laying ceremony, a verse of the National Anthem will be sung and a Thanksgiving Prayer recited to mark the end of the War Memorial service. The re-assembled parade will then proceed to the Parish Church – St Mary’s in Horsham’s Causeway – for the town’s Remembrance Day Service, to which everyone is invited.