The Chairman of Monmouthshire County Council, Councillor Jim Higginson, led an Armistice Day service at 11am on Friday 11th November to commemorate those who fell defending Britain in two world wars and the servicemen and women killed or injured since 1945. The ceremony was held at County Hall, Usk where Councillor Higginson was accompanied by his chaplain, the Reverend Dennis Richards, the Leader of the Council, Peter Fox and over 70 staff and councillors who observed two minutes of silence.
Councillor Higginson said: “We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to those who lost their lives while upholding our peace and freedom.”
Later that day, Councillor Higginson attended the Llanelly Hill Action Group Armistice Service at the local community hall and memorial.
Among the many other ceremonies held throughout the county on Friday 11th November were those at Abergavenny, Chepstow, Caldicot, Monmouth and Usk castles where maroon rockets were fired to mark the silent tribute. The council’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor John Prosser was present in Abergavenny where he later witnessed the unveiling of two quilts commemorating World War One in Abergavenny’s community hub. The quilts were produced by 130 pupils from across Monmouthshire and feature themes of the Great War including WWI poets, the role of animals in the war, life in the trenches, nurses, the Abergavenny War Memorial and poppies. In addition, a Centenary Field Plaque was unveiled in Bailey Park issued by the Fields in Trust Centenary Fields charity. The charity works across the UK in partnership with The Royal British Legion to secure recreational spaces in perpetuity to honour the memory of the millions of people who lost their lives in World War One.
Councillor Prosser said: “In this centenary year of the Battle of the Somme I am delighted that the people of Abergavenny and Monmouthshire will be able to commemorate the sacrifices made by those who have fallen on behalf of their country. I am very pleased that the youngsters of Monmouthshire have played a major part in these commemorations, and our lovely Bailey Park will be protected in perpetuity.”
A number of events took place in the approach to Remembrance Day. At Llanfoist Primary School near Abergavenny former armed forces personnel spoke to the young people of Year Six about life in uniform, the hardships endured by military personnel and the significance of the poppy.
Monmouth Museum unveiled an exhibition revealing the impact of WW1 on the town and its people; how the town rallied to the patriotic call, raised money for the war effort and lent support to troops abroad. WW1 Monmouth: A Town at War also documents the final resting places or sites of commemoration of the 80 Monmouth men and women who gave their lives for King and Country. Two handling boxes accompany the exhibition and feature a selection of costumes and objects from the period. The exhibition is currently on display in Monmouth’s Shire Hall but is available for display within the community – contact Karin Molson on 01600 710630 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Councillor Higginson also attended a laying of a wreath at Abergavenny on Sunday morning followed by a similar ceremony in Usk that afternoon. Other leading councillors were present at Remembrance Sunday ceremonies in Chepstow, Monmouth and Caldicot and Gilwern.