At Sunday’s service of remembrance, the Lord rewarded those who braved what promised to be a wet occasion with a 90-minute break in the weather. There was a significant turnout, made up of Sidmouth’s citizens of all ages, from babes-in-arms to the most senior of citizens.

Sidmouth Herald: Remembrance Sunday parade in Sidmouth

Sidmouth Herald: Armistice Day in Sidmouth 2023As he had the previous day - to a smaller, but still healthy turnout - to mark the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, Rev. Matt Selman presided over Sunday’s affairs with his usual calm, urbane delivery. This year, for the first time, the fully amplified service was broadcast into the church, so that older parishioners could pay their respects in the warmth. Church Warden Alan Clarke and his team deserve a pat on the back for their organisation of this.

Wreaths were laid by all armed services and civic dignitaries, including local MP Simon Jupp and Town Council Chair Chris Lockyear. Wreaths from assorted veterans’ groups, political parties and civic societies were also laid, and anyone interested can read them at the war memorial - the thorough cleaning of which, Town Clerk Chris Holland had arranged.

Sidmouth Herald: Remembrance Sunday parade in SidmouthParade Marshall Richard Waring and Parade Commander RM Warrant Officer Graham Whitehorn delivered a very smooth event this year. As the nation held its breath in the face of potential disrespect and disorder in London - Sidmouth was never at risk of such - both services were done very well, and passed off in well-ordered fashion.

Sidmouth Herald: Remembrance Sunday parade in Sidmouth

Contingents of army and air cadets looked extremely smart, whilst the scouts, guides, cubs and brownies behaved impeccably, particularly the youngest, for whom standing still for half-an-hour probably does not come naturally. Upon conclusion, some of the guides and cadets were good enough to help gather in the chairs. We hear negative things about younger people these days, but it must be said that, on both days, all of those on parade were an absolute credit to their uniforms, to their parents and to the town.

Sidmouth Herald: Sidmouth District Brownies, Guides and Rangers at the Remembrance Sunday paradeOn both days the crowd was made up of many and varied ex-servicemen and women, most wearing their medals. Many civilians also wore medals, but on the right-hand side of their clothing to signify that these had been earned by their ancestors - a number of whom, it is known, had perished.

Sidmouth Herald: Armistice Day in Sidmouth 2023

Mention must be made of the Sidmouth Town Band, and their administrator Fiona Harvey, who, as she always does, played the Last Post and Reveille on her cornet with great panache. The Band had led the parade down the High St, and closed affairs with the National Anthem.

All in all, those who did the organising, and the people of Sidmouth deserve credit for two polished and very well-attended events, demonstrating to all that the town really does REMEMBER THEM - and honours their sacrifices.

Sidmouth & district lost 161 men in WWI, 72 in WWII and 1 in Korea. Most of their names are on panels at the various parish churches. For anyone interested in learning more, local historian John McCarthy has catalogued them all and published details in a booklet, copies of which can be found in Sidmouth Library and at the parish churches.