PICTURES: Thousands gather across St Albans district to honour fallen

Don Dell of the Royal British Legion lays a wreath at the remembrance day service at St Peter's war

Don Dell of the Royal British Legion lays a wreath at the remembrance day service at St Peter's war memorial. - Credit: Archant

The noble sacrifices made by those during both world wars and more recent conflicts were recognised by thousands of people who gathered at services across the district, to mark both Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.

About 100 people joined a small service last Friday (11) morning to commemorate Armistice Day, which marks the end of the First World War, with wreaths laid at the War Memorial in St Albans city centre.

Members of the St Albans branch of the Royal British Legion took part in the event, including chairman Don Dell, who said it was a ‘lovely day’ for the service.

A small parade started in the city centre at about 10.50am, with representatives of the district council and St Peter’s Church among those attending.

On Remembrance Sunday an estimated 1,500 people lined streets to watch the 500-strong parade in the city centre, before gathering at the War Memorial near St Peter’s Church for service prayers and the laying of wreaths.

Don Dell said afterwards: “It went brilliantly – I think there was a record number of people there. And there were a lot of younger people there too.

“I would like to thank everyone for coming, clapping for those in the parade, and it was fantastic to see so many youngsters out there. It is obviously down to their parents, who must have explained the significance of the day.”

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Rev Peter Crumpler, curate of St Leonard’s Church in Sandridge, said that more than 130 people took part in an Act of Remembrance at the historic lychgate on Sunday morning. The service included reading out the names of brave men from the village killed in the two world wars, prayers, the observance of the two minutes’ silence and the National Anthem.

Wreaths were laid by the parish council, Sandridge School, the Scouts, local women’s groups and St Leonard’s Church.

Pupils at Colney Heath School have also been paying tribute, as Sarah Snowball, assistant headteacher, explained: “Throughout the week children have been learning about the poppy and what it symbolises. As a school we came together and created our own poppy field to help us remember those who fell. We had a minute’s silence at 11am [on Armistice Day] around our field of poppies and remembered.

“It was a day to be proud of our country and a day to be proud of our school. The children have been talking about our soldiers and listening to war stories throughout the week – [it] was a day to remember.”

A parade of standards along Park Street involved more than 150 young people from the local Guides and Scouts units, 220 St Albans Squadron Air Training Corps and St Columba’s Combined Cadet Force.

Together, they began the annual Remembrance Sunday Service at St Stephen Parish War Memorial.

More than 750 people gathered for the service to pay tribute, with more than 30 wreaths laid at the War Memorial in Park Street, including the Somme 100 wreath, commemorating the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

The service was conducted by Rev Dr Nick Weir of Holy Trinity Church, Frogmore. Those who were lost in recent conflicts were also remembered with 1st Park Street Rainbows laying a posy in memory of Lieutenant James Barry (Falklands, 1982) and David Philippson laying a wreath in memory of his brother, Captain James ‘Jim’ Philippson (Afghanistan, 2006).