THOUSANDS of people turned out for Remembrance Day services across Kirklees and Calderdale yesterday.
One of the biggest gatherings took place in Greenhead Park, Huddersfield, where more than 2,000 people attended.
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Instead of the usual Armistice Day parade and a church service at St Peter’s, Huddersfield Parish Church, the two events were merged as November 11 fell on Sunday.
More than 30 organisations formed a huge parade, from the Dunkirk Veterans’ Association to the Girl Guides and the Sea Cadets to the British Red Cross Society.
Headed by Hade Edge Band, the parade circled the park, stopping for a service at the war memorial at 11am.
Young and old walked side by side in solemn remembrance in a year made all the more poignant by the deaths of four Huddersfield soldiers.
Cpl Jake Hartley, 20, of New Mill, Pte Daniel Wilford, 21, of Cowlersley, and Pte Anton Frampton, 20, of Longwood, all died when their armoured Warrior vehicle was attacked in March.
Pte Tom Wroe, 18, of Meltham, died in September when a rogue Afghan policeman shot him and a colleague.
The service, also attended by the Queen’s representative Colonel Alan Roberts, a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, was opened by Jack West, chairman of the Huddersfield branch of the Royal British Legion.
Mr West, 79, welcomed everyone and said he was pleased to see so many young people.
“I want to extend a particularly warm welcome to all the boys and girls from local schools and the cadets of all three Armed Forces,” he said.
“It is in their hands that we entrust Remembrance in the future.”
Vicar of Huddersfield, the Rev Canon Simon Moor, who conducted the service, said that Remembrance Day meant different things to different people.
It was an act of remembrance for all but it was deeply personal for those who had lost loved ones.
He said the annual service caused “memories to bubble” and people never forgot.
He added: “This civic ceremony is to remember the past, what has been endured and what we can learn and remember for the future.
“Those who died, died for our future.”
Other Huddersfield soldiers who died in recent years were also recalled by the Mayor of Kirklees Clr David Ridgway.
He paid tribute to Lance Cpl Graham Shaw, 27, of Golcar, who died in Helmand in February 2010 and Capt Lisa Head, an explosives expert from Almondbury, who lost her life in April 2011.
Clr Ridgway said: “The dangers faced by our troops have been brought into sharp focus by the deaths of four Huddersfield soldiers this year. “But we should not forget Lance Cpl Graham Shaw or Capt Lisa Head.
“We are here to remember previous and current conflicts, some of which seem like pages in a history book.”
Also taking part in the parade were some 30 soldiers from the 4th Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, the Huddersfield-based Territorial Army.
Sgt Nick Mallas said it was all about paying respect.
The TA were no longer a “dad’s army drinking club” and were professional soldiers now expected to take up the slack after cuts to the Armed Forces, he said.
“I would recommend the TA to anyone,” he said. “We were walking through town in uniform the other day and the support we get from the public is fantastic.”
Robert Craven, 75, chairman of the Huddersfield Coldstream Guards Association, was delighted to see so many children and young people at the parade.
“My view is that we haven’t learned anything down the years, he said.
“But it is good to see so many kids here. They are our future.”
Capt Malcolm Kirk, 76, of the Soldiers Sailors and Airmen Families Association in Huddersfield, said he was pleased his grandson was now learning about the First World War in school.
“Look around. Remembrance Day services are not dying out,” he said.
Ex-Royal Navy man Jason Shettler, 43, comes from a forces family. His late brother Chris was a former soldier and his dad and uncle also served their country.
Jason, at the service with wife Beverley, 31, and son Ethan, 18 months, said: “It’s a day for remembering. And I hope Ethan will follow in the family tradition one day.”
There were services throughout the district including Holmfirth, Golcar, Denby Dale, Marsden, Meltham and Slaithwaite.
The biggest turnout came at Mirfield, where organisers claim to host the biggest parade and ceremony outside London.
The parade was led by 21 motorcyclists from the Royal British Legion Riders’ Branch and included the Clifton and Lightcliffe Brass Band.
A moving reading at the war memorial was given by serving soldier Matt Riley.
Dignitaries included Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire Iqbal Bhana and Mayor of Mirfield Clr David Pinder, a Falklands veteran.
Parade officer Tim Wood said he believed around 3,000 people attended, saying: “It was a bigger parade this year than last.
“It was a tremendous experience and I would like to thank everyone who turned out.”
In Rastrick, Deputy Mayor of Calderdale, Clr Christine Beal, attended at church service at St Matthew’s Church, while the Mayor of Calderdale, Clr John Hardy, attended the Remembrance Sunday Service at St Martin’s Church, Brighouse.
There was also a parade through Halifax to the Cenotaph at Duffy’s Park before a Remembrance Sunday Service in Halifax Minster.
Members of the Royal Air Force Association held their annual lunch at George Hotel.