At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month a World War 2 siren heralded the start of Marlborough’s reduced Armistice Day commemorations in the High Street. After Cllr Stewart Dobson had recited the exhortation, the church bell tolled eleven.
Mayor Mark Cooper, Cllr Dobson and Marian Dobson stood on the Town Hall steps with wreaths from the Town Council and The Royal British Legion. They were joined by small groups of people all along the High Street for the two minute silence.
Next a similar ceremony took place in front of the war memorial at the junction of London Road and Salisbury Road. Cllr Ross joined the Town Hall group to lay a wreath for the Wiltshire regiment which is commemorated on the memorial.
This was followed by a visit to Marlborough’s two cemeteries. Cllr Ross led the way to each of the eleven Commonwealth war graves. Mayor Mark Cooper then laid a poppy posy on each grave, speaking the name of the person and the words – “We remember you.”
The graves are a poignant reminder of the horrors of war and the sacrifices made. Corporal Jennings, like so many others in WW1, was a gas casualty. His body was sent home for burial. He had been a Kent County Cricketer and his father was groundsman at Marlborough College.
Out of all eleven who are buried in the cemeteries only one is a woman – Leading Aircraft Woman Fennell who died on March 1, 1946 aged 26. Sadly, her grave also mentions her brother who was killed in air combat in 1940.
Corporal Pickergill and Private Whieldon from the Pioneer Corps were killed unloading ammunition from a train in the Savernake Forest on January 2, 1946.
“For your tomorrow, we gave our today.”