Malmesbury Remembers

A new occasion was added to the traditional events in Malmesbury over the Remembrance weekend in November 2002 so that the actual Remembrance Day could be honoured.

On the Friday night there was the regular concert in the Abbey promoted by the Malmesbury branch of the Royal British Legion, featuring the Wroughton Silver Band. They played a wide variety of music, including original brass band compositions by Kenneth Alford and W Rimmer, arrangements of music by Bizet and Elgar, and John Williams' music for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Solo items were provided by Tony Spratt on the Bass performing One Foot in the Grave, and Rachael Jones playing flute solos.

The concert was followed by a short service of Remembrance led by the Revd. David Littlefair

On the Sunday, there was a ceremony at the town's Memorial Gates at which wreaths were laid, while the regular morning service at the Abbey included a two minute silence at 11:00. Then at 3:00pm in the Abbey there was the main Remembrance service. Those present included the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, the Mayor and Mayoress of Malmesbury, town, district and county councillors, the Warden and Freemen of Malmesbury, and members of the armed forces and public services. The preacher was Revd. Bob Hyatt, and after the dedication of wreathes the climax of the service was the reading of the names of the men of Malmesbury who gave their lives in the service of their country. These include several sets of brothers, a father and son, many who are buried overseas, and no less than 36 who have no known grave. This was followed by the two minutes silence and the singing of the National Anthem.

This year's initiative was a short ceremony, again in the Abbey on the 11th. It started at 10:30 with actor and Malmesbury resident James Grout reading A.E.Houseman's poem The lads in their hundreds. This was followed by several readings about Malmesbury men who died in the First World War, and accounts of their actions and bravery. One of the most moving was about Congregational Minister Emlyn Holt Davies who answered the call to render service among Indian troops and made the ultimate sacrifice. At 11:00 there was the two minute silence, after which James Grout read Wilfred Owen's poem Strange Meeting. About 60 people attended this moving occasion.

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