Call to attend Cenotaph service

Armed Forces veterans, from left, Dave Herne (Army), John Phillips (Royal Navy) and Doug Harrison (RAF) at Morpeth RAFA Club.
Armed Forces veterans, from left, Dave Herne (Army), John Phillips (Royal Navy) and Doug Harrison (RAF) at Morpeth RAFA Club.

Three Armed Forces veterans have joined together to urge residents to attend the Remembrance Sunday service in Morpeth.

The call from Doug Harrison (RAF), Dave Herne (Army) and John Phillips (Royal Navy) follows the shocking act of vandalism to the town’s War Memorial last month.

Various names were scratched on to all four panels of the monument, damaging the surface of the plaques.

The three men met at the Morpeth RAFA (Royal Air Forces Association) Club in Wellway this week. They described the crime as ‘disgusting’ and said that members check the memorial for any scratchings when they are in the area.

Mr Herne added: “We urge people from Morpeth to show we do care by attending the Cenotaph for the service this Sunday to remember all who have given the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives in conflicts over the past 100 years.

“After the service, everyone is welcome to the RAFA Club to ‘pull up a sand bag’ and listen to the veterans’ stories and they can have a chat with them if they want.

“The RAFA Club is supported by veterans from all three of the armed services, including the Royal fleet auxiliary and the merchant marine, and is open to civilian memberships.

“The Royal Air Force Association does a fantastic job in supporting veterans, their families and providing convalescence homes for injured service men and women.”

A mason will carry out temporary repair works to the War Memorial before the service and in the coming weeks, Morpeth Town Council will have discussions about the permanent action to take.

Special flower beds have been planted in the area by the monument.

The parade of representatives from units and organisations, led by Morpeth Pipe Band, will set off from the Town Hall at 10.35am on Sunday and will march to the Cenotaph via Bridge Street, Castle Square and Castle Bank.

The service will include prayers, the exhortation and commitment, the traditional air, the placing of wreaths and a period of silence.

Afterwards, the parade will reform on the road and go back to the Town Hall, where commanders will call ‘eyes left’ for Mayor Nic Best to take the salute.

One of the Scouts will then present Coun Best with a scroll containing a list of the 233 names of Morpeth men who died in battle during the First World War.

A short service and two-minute silence from 11am will take place outside the Town Hall on Tuesday (November 11). In addition, the Clock Tower will toll 233 times to honour the Morpeth fallen.

A public Remembrance Service will also take place at County Hall, Loansdean, on Tuesday morning.

War veterans, representatives of the RAF, Royal British Legion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and RAF Boulmer, county councillors and council staff will be present.

Anyone wishing to attend the ceremony is asked to assemble at the war memorial by the Viking statue at 10.45am.