On the 100th anniversary of the Armistice Day Parade in Bedworth, the Countess of Wessex led the civic party part of the parade as it paid homage to the fallen.
The Countess led the party from the Almhouses to the cemetery in Coventry Road. She then laid the first wreath at the war memorial before reading during the morning service. Ken Whitehead, chair of the Armistice Day parade group, spoke with pride about the royal visitor: “It has put the icing on the cake and certainly put Bedworth on the map.”
The West Midlands city prides itself on being the ‘town that never forgets’ as it has observed Armistice Day every year for the last century. This is because the town is the only one outside of London to have observed two minutes of silence on the eleventh hour on the eleventh day on the eleventh month since 1921.
On average, about 5,000 people attend the Armistice Day events. Thousands of people line the streets around the town centre, close to the cemetery, and also along Rye Piece Ringway for the parade and service. First, the civic party emerges before the crowd cheers for veterans as well as army, navy, airforce, and police cadets as they march by.
Because of the weather, neither of the two planned poppy drops across town could go ahead as planned. The Tiger Moth aircraft was scheduled to make two special drops. One drop would be when the parade takes the salute at the nearby brand new piece podium on Rye Piece Ringway. The other drop would drop poppies over the town during the annual service in the cemetery. Last year, the event was scaled back because of the global health crisis. To mark the return of this year’s big event, organisers promised the ‘biggest and most wonderful’ event in its 100-year history.