FALLEN heroes were remembered as thousands of people lined streets across the North East to pay tribute to servicemen and women who lost their lives in conflicts.
Remembrance services took place across the region yesterday, where veterans were joined by serving personnel and crowds of onlookers.
In Newcastle, a service was held in at the City War Memorial in Old Eldon Square.
Among those attending the event was pensioner Harry Martin of South Gosforth, Newcastle, a warrant officer with the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers. He said: “Today is important to me as my grandfather and father were both killed in the wars. But I also come here to remember the servicemen and women who have sacrificed their lives in all wars and also those who are fighting in present conflicts.”
Philip Clark, 39, a firefighter, and his wife Karen, 41, from Chapel House, Newcastle, bring their daughters Amelia and Harriet to the service every year.
Karen said: “We have friends who are serving soldiers and Philip’s dad was in the army. We think it is important for the girls to understand how lucky they are that their dad comes home every night, as some of their friends’ dads can’t.”
Amelia, eight, said: “I think the soldiers are doing a really good job of serving their country and they should be proud of it.”
Taking part in the parade was retired Major Graeme Heron, Vice President of the Fusiliers Association North East. He said: “Today is our chance to say thank you and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
The Government plans to scrap the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers but thousands of people have signed petitions urging ministers to change their mind.
Major Heron said: “Ministers should hang their head in shame today. There are lads out there in Afghanistan now, knowing they are going to be made redundant when they get back. It is disgusting.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of people gathered in Wallsend to honour those who have lost their lives for our country.
The young and the old alike wore their poppies with pride as they watched a parade by members of the armed forces.
At the stroke of 11am a 45-minute service was held at Burns Closes War Memorial with members of the uniformed services and ex-servicemen taking part.
Les Gilchrist, 55, of the Northumbria Army Cadet Force, looked on while wearing his uniform and medals for long service.
The grandfather-of-three is married to June, 56, and has served in the armed forces for 22 years. He was previously a member of the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers.
Mr Gilchrist, of Wallsend, said: “It is very, very important that we remember the young lads and lasses that have not just fought in previous wars but those who are fighting for our country now.
“It is great that many people have attended the service to show their support for the armed forces and recognise the great work that they do.”
Mum-of-two Jade Smiles, 20, of Wallsend, attended the memorial service with her children, Craig, two, and Chantelle, 10-months.
She said: “I enjoyed the service and I think it’s very important that we show our respects to the armed forces and honour them.”
In Whitley Bay crowds gathered for a service at the war memorial at The Links
Wendy Adams, 44, of Whitley Bay, attended the ceremony in memory of her war hero father Fred Adams, who died in 2008 aged 85.
“I’ve brought his medals with me in my bag, so I feel like he is here,” she said.
Fred, of North Shields, was given the freedom of the French village of Benouville because of his brave action on D-Day – when along with fellow members of the 7th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, he saved the life of a cafe owner’s four-year-old daughter while taking part in the action at what became known as Pegasus Bridge.
Wendy, who visited Normandy with her father to mark the 60th anniversary of D-Day, added: “I didn’t realise the enormity of what some of them had been through until I talked to veterans on that trip. I feel it is very important to come to the service to remember everybody who has died in service for the country.”
The Bishop of Durham, The Right Rev Justin Welby, who is to become the next Archbishop of Canterbury, also joined in the Remembrance events. He returned to his Durham diocese at the weekend where he led a Remembrance Day service at St Gabriel’s Church in Sunderland. He talked of forgiveness using the story of Coventry Cathedral as the international symbol of Peace and Reconciliation. The bishop’s own grandfather was killed in action in the First World War.
In Alnwick, a moving service at St Michael’s Church was followed by a parade through Narrowgate and Bondgate Within to the town’s war memorial.
Among those paying their respects was the Duke of Northumberland.