SERVICES of Remembrance have been taking place throughout the UK today, Sunday (Nov 14). Although numbers are dwindling due to the age and mobility issues for veterans, towns like Kidwelly in Carmarthenshire are still putting plenty of effort into ensuring a service goes ahead.
Kidwelly is a small town, which is trying hard to emerge from the impact of the pandemic, specifically a year without tourism. The town has a lot to offer, not least a big community spirit. Peppered with ancient buildings including a thatched roof public house, an impressive castle and church all nestling on a river edged with reed beds visited by birds of many species.
It is fair to say that there are not many people around in November and the numbers of veterans are dwindling. Despite this the town began decorating railings, lamp posts, windows and buildings with poppies. Wherever one looks in the town there is a splash of red.
Town Mayor Chris Peters-Bond said that there was a lot planned for this sleepy town if funding could be secured. With funding and some community input Kidwelly could soon be a place with a craft centre, cafes, cycle and nature trails and a shuttle bus for tourists who may not have Kidwelly, which has been described as a ‘horse and cart’ town on their radar. Let’s not forget that people pay a lot of money for the privilege of visiting ancient towns like this.
Today was not a day for tourists but for local people, families of those who fell during war and those who are still serving in the armed forces. The day began with a service at St. Mary’s Church before the march proceeded along Bridge Street to New Street and the War Memorial.
The marchers were accompanied by Crwbin Silver Band. Following a short service given by Rev. Roger Morley-Jones and Rev. Canon Bryan Witt, a bugler sounded the Last Post followed by the Reveille.
Deputy Lord Lieutenant Thomas Lloyd placed the first wreath followed by the Town Mayor Chris Peters-Bond and thereafter, Flight Sergeant Clive Foster, veterans and members of community organisations
Parade Marshall David Taylor said: “The last few years we have had an amazing turnout. Support from the town has been fantastic and I hope it continues. Mobility is an issue for veterans. All services were covered by regular personnel today. All in all it has been a good day.”
Deputy Lord Lieutenant Thomas Lloyd said: “It is a joy to see this town remembering its fallen with so much honour and respect. The whole town has been covered in poppies and it is lovely. This town should be very proud of itself for keeping up the standards and tradition.”
Chris Peters-Bond said: “There wasn’t a ceremony last year due to Covid so it has been really nice to come together again and to remember recognise the contribution and suffering people have made through the past wars. It’s a fantastic effort. Lots of crafters have come together and it is wonderful to see the effort which adds another dimension to the town. There is a vibrancy and a sense of renewal and the community is recognising what is important.”
John Wheatland (r) served in the RAF in Egypt. He said: “A lot of people never came back. They talk about Afghanistan but for these people it was their job. They were National Servicemen. Asked if he thought National Service should be brought back he said; No. Have you ever seen an 18-year-old man frightened. On May 5th 1951 I saw eight people get killed. Things like that stick in your memory all the time.”
Heath Taylor was placing poppies for his Great Great Grandfather who served in the Yeomanry and survived being shot four times.
Mike Rees (l) and Steve Clark (r) served in the Royal Navy. Steve said: “I enjoyed my life in the Navy and I recommend it to young people today. It is a good way of getting a trade and teaching you discipline.”
Photos. Elkanah Evans and Noah Evans