Sunday, 8 November 2009

Living in the Past (but ony for a few hours)

What a fitting tribute to our Military Personnel past, present, future, those who fell and those who remain. I attend this wonderful remembrance (being one of them) whenever I can, and don't think I have ever seen such a turn out. Deciding to muster at the ANZAC memorial I wandered through a sea of faces, many of which I knew. For the rest of the day it was impossible to walk from A to B without stopping every few yards or so to talk to yet another character.

Here, adjacent to Weymouth's main cenotaph, the parade formed while I marveled at the number of youngsters involved. The cadets of the 3 main services plus scouts, cubs, brownies (or whatever they may call them these days) all proudly sending forth representatives to lay their wreaths.

There were of course 'The Veterans', who's numbers are now much reduced from my previous visits, but my mind wandered to old shipmates such as Sid Dolton who spent his war in the Submarine Service. I was fortunate to catch up with Sid at the Submarine Centenary calibrations at HMS Dolphin, as a few months later he passed away.

Later the parade, escorted by their various 'standards', marched to the US Military Memorial to those who not only passed through our town on deployment, but also gave their lives in the combined effort.

Diane, Sooty (Jnr), Jo and Tom

It was here that my dear friend Sooty Stockley was to become the first of what we hope may become a long tradition. Laying a wreath to all those American troops who passed this way each making a contribution. The photograph shows some of the Stockley clan, with their partners) heading to the dedication.

Sooty talks to long time friend Anne Hunt before 'doing his bit'.

John (Sooty) Stockley 'doing his bit.

Hey look, there's a pair of Ancient Mariners over there!

Friends Rachel, Sarah and Sooty's wife Gill

It would be fantastic to meet people like this every day, but especially Rachel, a sprightly octogenarian, was simply overflowing with smiles and positive chat.

Sooty, Gill and wreath - proud to have paid their tribute.

The simple words say it ALL.

Afterwards we visited JD's, by the Town Bridge, and had a shared platter, drink and reminisced over earlier days. The 3 of us intend to do the same again on Thursday, so good to be together after what has been a while.

Nicky & Chunky (you can call me Graham)

and finally here's one for Lisa. I came across these 2 'Herberts' in Weatherspoon's and they wanted me to pass on their warmest regards to you Frederick and Bernard. We also had a chat about some of the wonderful time we three had spent together, especially as guests of Chunky!