Sunderland is preparing to pay tribute to its fallen in a moving ceremony.
Hundreds of service personnel are joining the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, the Mayor of Sunderland and veterans for this year’s Sunderland Remembrance Parade and Service on Sunday, November 8.
The parade, one of the biggest in the country outside of London, starts at 10.35am from the Civic Centre and will be led by The Band of the Royal Corps of Signals and the Bearpark and Esh Colliery Band.
Units in this year’s parade include: 4 Regiment Royal Artillery, Guards 24 Platoon 2nd Infantry Training Battalion and HMS Ocean. They will be joined by contingents 9th Army Air Corps, The Light Dragoons and 1st Battalion REME and the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment,
The largest contingent of the parade this year will be provided by 4 Regiment Royal Artillery. Representatives of the regiment, which received the Freedom of Sunderland in 1974, will travel from their base in Topcliffe, North Yorkshire to take part. The regiment will also provide the Regimental Sergeant Major tasked with co-ordinating the parade.
Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Barry Curran, said: “Remembrance Sunday is an opportunity for everyone in Sunderland to pay tribute to those who fought in conflicts past and present and the many who gave up their lives for their country.
“It’s also really important that we use this occasion to honour the servicemen and women of today and let them know how much we value what they do and appreciate the sacrifices they make on our behalf.
“The sad loss of those young men from this city who have lost their lives in recent conflicts will be especially close to our hearts as we remember all those who have paid the ultimate price.”
As in previous years, veteran Ted Hold, President of the Sunderland Branch of the Parachute Regimental Association,is reciting the first four verses of the famous war poem For the Fallen before the two minute silence.
This will be followed by veteran Len Gibson, a member of 125 Anti Tank Regiment Royal Artillery who was prisoner of war on the notorious Death Railway in Burma. He is reciting the Far Eastern Prisoner of War Prayer before the wreath laying.
Earlier this year a memorial service and dedication of the Memorial Standard for the 160th (Wearside) Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (RFA) was held at Sunderland Minster. Funded by Sunderland City Council, the Standard is a permanent reminder of the Brigade. This year will be the first time in decades that it will fly alongside those of their comrades at the annual Remembrance Parade.
Councillor Curran added: “It is fitting that a century after the men of the 160th Wearside Brigade took their first salute from the then Mayor as they marched off to war, that I should now represent the people of our city to receive their Standard in the Service of Remembrance.”
The parade ends in a march past of veterans and serving members of Her Majesty’s Forces. A salute is taken by the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, Mrs Susan Winfield OBE, the Mayor of Sunderland, Commander Ian Berry, Royal Navy and Brigadier Gerald Strickland, 4 Infantry Brigade, in front of the steps of the museum in Borough Road
•Members of the public are welcome to attend. Anyone thinking of coming along is advised to dress warmly and be in place at the war memorial by 10.15am as the parade will step off at 10.35am.
A limited amount of seating, accessible from Mowbray Park is available from 9am. Access to the disabled platform is available from the same time. Parking in the Civic Centre car will be available free of charge.
Road closures are in place from 9.30am – with access to Civic Car Park from Park Lane only after this point.