Armistice and Remembrance day is not just about those who fought in the two World Wars of the last century, but also about those involved in the many other conflicts worldwide since 1945 and those still fighting for peace and freedom now. It is also about learning from the past and resolving to make the world a better place to live in the future.
At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year 1918, the guns fell silent on the Western Front. For Britain and her allies, the moment the conflict ceased became sacred. Every year since then, the Allied dead of the Great War have been remembered by the laying of wreaths, this ceremony is still replicated in every city, town and village throughout the land. No hamlet, however small, is without its war memorial as is the Village of la Boisselle on the Somme, France.
Services of Remembrance held at and near the Lochnagar Crater Memorial in 2006
The assembly of the Villagers of la Boisselle and a small group of Friends of Lochnagar and other participants began at 10.00 am; the Villagers proudly led by M. Gerard Margotin, Le Maire, of Ovillers la Boisselle, and the Friends of Lochnagar led by their Chairman Richard Dunning.
The first services and wreath laying ceremonies took place at the Village French War Memorial. A floral tribute was first laid by M. Gerard Margotin, followed by Richard Dunning who took forward with him an English schoolgirl, Chloey, who laid Richards Wreath.
The congregation then made its way to the 34th Divisional Memorial at the northern tip of the village, where a wreath was laid by the Friends of Lochnagar and a floral tribute by the Villagers of la Boisselle. At all of the services, held at la Boisselle and Lochnagar Crater Memorial, Friend George Heron splendidly, read out the Exhortations at all of the ceremonies carried out.
There then followed the final village ceremony at the Tyneside Scottish and Tyneside Irish Memorial Seat at the southern tip of the village. This service has always held a great deal of meaning in my life, as I suppose it has with the people of Tyneside throughout the years since the Great War.
These very emotional wreath laying services took approximately an hour, after which all present were invited to a Vind'Honneur in the la Boisselle Village school hall, where everyone, including our devoted pipers, took a well earned rest.
At 1pm, Friends gathered at the Lochnagar Crater Memorial for a small wreath laying ceremony, led by the Founder and Chairman of the Friends of Lochnagar Richard Dunning, owner of the Lochnagar Crater Memorial.
A number of private wreaths were laid with wreaths from the Friends of Lochnagar.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Pipers in making the day a very memorable one as they always do, THANK YOU, on behalf of the Friends of Lochnagar.
Our Chairman, Richard Dunning, with Michel Duthoit, an original and devoted Friend of Lochnagar at the end of the Lochnagar Crater Memorial Service, 11th November 2006. In the middle is English school girl Chloey, living in France to learn the language.
YouTube clip of the remembrance day ceremony 11 November 2015
Courtesy Karen Meisner