Semper Fidelis: Reflections on Exeter’s Week of Remembrance

Semper Fidelis: Reflections on Exeter’s Week of Remembrance

Remembrance Day is always such a mixture of emotions. Fond memories of those that you have served with, a profound loss at those who did not return and the hope that it was all for a better future.

All this was on display in spades last week in our city.

Crammed into the week was Northernhay Garden’s Remembrance Sunday Service, tea with serving officers at the Guildhall, a windswept service at Higher Cemetery and the raising of the Polish flag over the Guildhall to remember 307 Squadron’s sacrifice.

Exeter’s Remembrance Sunday service attendance has rocketed from just 300 a few years ago to over a thousand this year. And rightly so, it is our opportunity to thank those who have served.

The following cup of tea in the Guildhall was a great opportunity to meet serving officers from across our services. In particular I enjoyed meeting officers from our own 243 Field Hospital, Wyvern Barracks who are off to fight Ebola in Sierra Leone imminently.

What I hadn’t seen coming were a group of likely ex-submariners who kindly invited me to an afternoon at the Exeter White Ensign Club. Well what an afternoon!

Nearly 300 of Exeter’s servicemen and women, good food, live music and dancing was a wonderful way to end a day of Remembrance in our community.

Remembrance Day saw a windswept ceremony in Higher Cemetery made more poignant by pupils from Ladysmith Primary School laying crosses on Commonwealth war graves.

Then on Saturday Polish well wishers descended from across the region to watch their flag raised to remember 307 Night fighter Squadron and their service during the Second World War.

What a wonderful week of events to say thank you to all those within our community who have served.