This November, Uckfield residents will once more remember those who fell in two world wars and subsequent conflicts. writes Duncan Bennett
We will be particularly thinking of those from our town who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country and its freedom.
Many people are unaware that our own cemetery in Snatts Road has twenty four War Graves and these hold the mortal remains of not only local men, but those who were serving here from elsewhere in the commonwealth.
Included amongst them is a woman, Emma Howell, a worker in the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps, who sadly died in 1918.
The memorial plaques in our Parish Church of Holy Cross sadly hold the names of so many young men from our town and in this centenary year of the Battle of Passchendaele, it is impossible not to be moved by the sheer numbers, especially when you consider the much smaller population of the town back then. Most families were affected by the loss of fathers, sons, brothers, nephews, uncles or cousins.
As we know, The Great War, “the war to end all wars”, was tragically nothing of the sort and those who were lucky enough to return from the first, bore the solemn duty of seeing their own sons march off to fight in a second global conflict only two decades later, again, many never to return.
Time passes and battles become history, but the painful loss of a serviceman does not diminish in its sadness, as witnessed by the grief shown throughout our community when 22 year old Uckfield lad, Pvte Daniel Gamble was killed whilst serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Pararachute Regiment in Afganistan, just nine years ago.
There are two memorials within the town which will be the scene of Acts of Remembrance.
The town’s main War Memorial at Holy Cross shall be the focus of Remembrance upon Armistice Day, when at the Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month, we remember the moment that the guns fell silent at the end of the Great War.
Then on Remembrance Sunday, a simple Act of Remembrance shall be observed at 11am at the Eugene Seghers Memorial within the garden of The Highlands Inn. You are welcome to join those gathered in laying wreaths, flowers or Poppy Crosses etc.
Later that day, the Annual Remembrance Day Parade will make its way up the High Street to Holy Cross Church for the Service of Remembrance, followed by Wreath Laying led by the Mayor, a two minute’s silence and then the return parade back to the Civic Centre.
Those who “Gave Their Today For Our Tomorrow” are some of the many reasons to “Wear Your Poppy With Pride” and I hope that you do so at these Uckfield events.
Councillor Duncan Bennett – Deputy Mayor.