A CALL has gone out for Armistice and Remembrance ceremonies in Tunbridge Wells this November, which are expected to attract thousands to the town but which could be missing some important faces.
John Cohen, Chairman of the Royal British Legion’s (RBL) local branch is currently reaching out to veterans who are not in touch with the RBL to ensure they can join in.
“It is important the town is able to recognise the contribution of such veterans and has a good understanding of the size of that group in the community,” he said.
In addition to church services, Tunbridge Wells holds different acts of remembrance across three outdoor locations in mid-November.
This year, the first events will take place on Armistice Day. On Friday, November 11, the RBL will lead a short Act of Remembrance at the War Memorial outside Town Hall, starting at 10:45am, with Tunbridge Wells Mayor Cllr Godfrey Bland and RBL local branch honorary president David Wakefield laying wreaths.
Then, at approximately 11:30am on the same day, RBL will also lead a ceremony at the Victoria Cross (VC) Grove on the Bayhall Road side of Dunorlan Park.
“The VC Grove provides the perfect setting for smaller, more intimate acts of Remembrance and all are welcome to attend both ceremonies,” said Mr Cohen.
Gurkha Rifles veteran Rorie Evans will play a bagpipe lament before both events, and the names of the 10 holders of the Victoria Cross will be read out in the grove before the ceremony.
“We hope this year to attract more veterans so that their service can be better acknowledged.”
The town’s largest outdoor event of the commemorative season starts at 10:45am on Remembrance Sunday (November 13) at the War Memorial, a multi-faith service of remembrance, parade and march-past organised by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.
Hundreds of cadets from the town’s cadet forces, as well as representatives from many youth and civilian organisations, take part.
“In pre-Covid years, the service has been attended by thousands, and we expect a similar number this year,” said Mr Cohen.
“The town’s Salvation Army Band and the Royal Tunbridge Wells Orpheus Male Voice Choir will again be taking part, and bagpiper Rorie Evans for the first time will be playing a lament.”
The third outdoor remembrance location is at Tunbridge Wells Cemetery, Hawkenbury, with a civic ceremony taking place on Sunday, November 13.
Starting at 12:30pm, the service will see the Mayor, veterans’ organisations and the Friends of Tunbridge Wells Cemetery lay wreaths at the World War II Garden of Remembrance, and then at the Civilian Memorial, the World War I Memorial, and the RAF Memorial.
On a national level, RBL’s focus this year is on the concept of service.
“The Royal British Legion Service, the act of defending and protecting the nation’s democratic freedoms and way of life, is rarely without cost for those who serve,” said the organisation.
“Physical, mental or emotional injury or trauma; the absence of time with family; or the pressures and dangers that come from serving, highlight why the Remembrance of service is so important.”
Those who wish to get in touch with the Royal British Legion in Tunbridge Wells can email: firstname.lastname@example.org.