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Bermuda remembers the fallen

  • Paying his respects: William Adams, president of the Bermuda War Veterans Association and a Royal Navy signalman in the Second World War, lays a wreath at the Cenotaph on Saturday (Photograph by Raymond Hainey)
  • Premier wreath: David Burt, the Premier, lays a wreath at the Cenotaph on Saturday. (Photograph by Raymond Hainey)
  • Remembrance respects: Governor John Rankin lays a wreath at the Cenotaph on Saturday. (Photograph by Raymond Hainey)
  • British contingent: Major Cameron Hastie of the Royal Regiment of Scotland (front, centre) and the British Army rugby team on parade on Front Street. (Photograph by Raymond Hainey)
  • March past: Yesterday's service personnel march past today's Royal Bermuda Regiment at the Remembrance Day parade on Front Street. (Photograph by Raymond Hainey)

Crowds paid tribute to those who served in the armed services at Bermuda’s annual Remembrance Day parade on Saturday.

The day was commemorated around the island, from a special service at St James Church in the West End, to a solemn Remembrance Sunday ceremony at King’s Square in St George.

At the Cenotaph in London, a poppy wreath was laid on Bermuda’s behalf by the UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson.

The Royal Bermuda Regiment and its Band and Corps of Drums joined veterans, soldiers from the British Army and other uniformed services for the wreath-laying at the Cenotaph on Front Street.

Bernice Smith, 92, said she attended the ceremony to honour her late husband Norman, a World War Two veteran of the Bermuda Militia Artillery who died in 1976.

Ms Smith said: “It’s important that people come out and remember — I come every year.”

Her daughter Lana Jordan added: “It’s good for the young and for young people to serve in the Regiment.”

Ms Jordan, whose husband and two daughters served in the US Air Force, while a son was in the US Army, added: “It gives them a sense of pride, they meet people they wouldn’t normally meet and there’s a camaraderie they will never forget.”

Veteran Donald Joliffe saw service in the Korean War and the Suez crisis in the 1950s while serving in the British Army.

Mr Joliffe, 87, said: “Remembrance Day is important to me, and it’s a part of my life.”

The former soldier said he had been in Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for treatment, but told doctors he had to be home for Remembrance Day.

Mr Joliffe, a retired engineer, added: “I had to be back for the parade. I’m very proud to be here and proud I served my country.”

Governor John Rankin, who led the wreath-laying ceremony and inspected the veterans on parade, said Remembrance Day was important “both personally for me and as Governor” because his father had seen active service in the Second World War.

Mr Rankin added: “Veterans have given service to our country that allows us to enjoy the freedoms we have today. It’s important to remember those who have served Bermuda in the forces.

“It’s also the case that sometimes we have a lot to learn from those men and women who have seen so much in their lives. I enjoy listening to their wisdom.”

David Burt, the Premier, also laid a wreath, and he said: “Tradition is important and I think we should always celebrate those who made sacrifices. It’s always good to speak to people who played a part in history.”

RBR Commanding Officer Lieutenant David Curley said it was a privilege to honour “the sacrifices of our nation’s heroes”.

He added: “The RBR provided support for the parade and I’m proud of all our soldiers.”

Major Cameron Hastie, an officer in the Royal Regiment of Scotland is in Bermuda with the British Army rugby team for the World Rugby Classic and said he was struck by “the warmth and appreciation” of the crowds.

Major Hastie added: “We read the history of the Royal Bermuda Regiment before we came here. We know how proud they are of their history. What surprised us is the amount of people who attended the parade.”

Colonel Sandy Fitzpatrick, of the British Army’s General Staff, said: “The Regiment was great. Being the only military unit on the island, it has the respect reserve regiments in the UK have.”

The RBR is now recruiting for Recruit Camp in January 2018. For more information, call 238-1045 or visit www.bermudaregiment.bm