PURFLEET’s annual remembrance service took place this morning (Sunday, 4 November).
A procession of dignitaries, veterans and residents marched from the Purfleet heritage and Military Centre to the war memorial in St Stephen’s Church grounds. The parade also feature a vintage bus, provided by the Ensign Bus company, similar to many which transported troops in the First World War.
The service at the memorial was led by the Rev Austin Uzoigwe of the Mar Dyke team ministry. During the service former borough MP Andrew Mackinlay, a noted commentator on the First World War who played a significant part in the ‘Shot at Dawn’ campaign that won pardons for those British and Commonwealth troops executed for allegedly showing cowardice, spoke briefly about the close days of the conflict.
Borough Mayor Cllr Barbara Rice and Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price led the wreath-laying after the Last Post and Reveille played by Sarah White of the Tilbury band. One of the most poignant moments of the ceremony came when five and seven year-old Josie and Mary Gananca laid a wreath on behalf of their family.
After the service participants marched back to the Heritage Centre for refreshments.