Remembrance Sunday Ceremony

On a lovely afternoon, with the Sun shining on the Cross of Sacrifice, FoSOC held its annual Remembrance Commemoration. FoSOC wishes to express gratitude to everyone who came to this event, a very special one this year as we were honoured by the presence of the Lord Mayor of Southampton, Cllr. Jacqui Rayment, and her Consort, Marcus, and FoSOC’s President, Professor James Stevens Curl who had come from Belfast, with his wife, Professor Dorota Iwaniec, specially to be with us. Remembrance is always in two parts: firstly at the Cross of Sacrifice, just inside the main gates, then moving to the Belgian Memorial, where there are buried wounded/very ill soldiers from that country brought here to hospitals, in and around Southampton, some of whom found their final rest here, others at the military cemetery at Netley Abbey and at South Stoneham Cemetery. Wreaths were laid at both locations in our cemetery. At the Cross, the Exhortation was spoken, The Last Post sounded on the bugle, followed by one minute’s Silence, and the end of that Silence was marked by Reveille, again on the bugle. The Mayor was escorted by a contingent from Southampton Sea Scouts, her personal Cadet being a Leading Cadet member.
Addresses were given by Geoff Watts of FoSOC, who led the commemoration at the Cross, the Lord Mayor and Professor Curl, also at the Cross, and by Graham Linecar, of FoSOC, at the Belgian Memorial. The theme chosen for the afternoon was Pilgrimage: Remembrance, Respect and Reconciliation. 2022 is the centenary of a personal pilgrimage to the war graves of the Western Front, in northern France and Belgium, by King George V and Queen Mary. The king’s example was followed by those who came after him, the late Queen Mother laying her flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey, before her marriage, there, in 1923, in memory of her brother, Fergus, killed at Loos in 1915. Our late Queen carried on pilgrimage to many sites and was present on 11 November 1998, with Irish President, Mrs Mary McAleese, when a memorial was unveiled in the Salient, south of Ieper, in memory of all Irishmen, from North and South, who fell in that sector of conflict. An Act of Reconciliation. At the Menin Gate, Ieper, on 11 November, the representatives of Germany and the UK went up, together, to lay their wreaths, again symbolising Reconciliation. Those attending at our cemetery heard the Lord Mayor speak about Southampton as always being a welcoming place for refugees and Professor Curl drew on his family history from both World Wars and gave us an insight into Ukraine in the Great War. Graham reflected on two Belgian families who made contact with us and visited their ancestors’ graves in the Belgian section.
All pictures taken, by FoSOC Member, Bruce Larner