For the sixth consecutive year, we attended the City of Wakefield Remembrance Sunday parade and wreath laying ceremony at the war memorial on Wood Street, to pay our respects.
We met at the car park adjacent to Charley Browns on Northgate from 10:30 and seventeen Wakefield MAG members then joined the large crowd which had gathered at the Wood Street War Memorial.
At 10:45, the parade, which had set off from the cathedral, took the direct route and marched up Wood St (a different route to last year), led by the Wakefield Cathedral clergy, marching bands, members of the regular army, members of the 9th Parachute Squadron of the Royal Engineers (Wakefield's own TA unit), army, air & sea cadets, police, fire service, prison service, a big group of veterans, scouts and numerous others.
The service started after the 11:00 town hall bells, with the two-minute silence and service, led by the Chaplain for the City of Wakefield Branch of the Royal British Legion.
At the end of the bible readings, prayers and hymns, everyone was invited to lay their wreaths at the foot of the war memorial. Chas Milner, ex-RAF man, laid our own Wakefield MAG wreath, which we had ordered from the Royal British Legion.
The service was over by 11:30, and we made our way back to the car park, where some headed home to pick up their bikes, whilst others made their way to the Redbeck Cafe on Doncaster Road, where we were all meeting later for the trip over to Mirfield.
From Redbeck, 14 bikes made their way over to Mirfield and the Old Colonial pub, to meet up with the Royal British Legion Riders (RBLR) Branch, who were attending the Mirfield Remembrance Sunday Parade. However, we had just missed them by a minute or two, but luckily, we knew where the parade was assembled, so we made our way there to meet the RBLR guys.
We were there at the invitation of the RBLR (for the fourth year running) and our attendance doubled the number of bikes and the RBLR were absolutely delighted we attended to support the parade and service, and boost the number of attending motorcyclists.
The role of the motorcyclists, is to lead the procession, with the marching bands, service personnel, cadets, veterans, everyone else following on behind.
It was indeed an honour for all of us to take part in this remembrance parade.
The Mirfield parade is billed as the largest outside London. I'm not so convinced that is actually true as it doesn't seem that big, however, it was certainly big enough to make the BBC Look North News that evening. We didn't get on the footage, but the WWII vehicles who were just behind us in the parade did. A sign of the times though ... heavily armed police with Heckler & Koch MP5 sub-machine guns were present in case of a terrorist attack. A sad reminder of the world we now live in that terrorists would want to attack people paying their respects to the service personnel who have given their lives for their country and our freedom.
Following the service at the Mirfield War Memorial, the bikers led the procession back to the 'Old Colonial', where the landlord and RBLR had laid on food and drink.
A huge thank you to everyone connected with the parade, it was our honour and pleasure to attend. Everyone agreed it was a great thing to do, and we will be attending the service again in 2015 (both in Wakefield & Mirfield).