Welcome to the Orihuela Costa and District Branch of The Royal British Legion
MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE
One of the aims of The Royal British Legion is to perpetuate the memory of those who died in the service of their country; not only in the two World Wars but also in all of the conflicts that have taken place since those terrible years.
Here in Spain, in order to commemorate the sacrifices that were made by those service and civilian personnel, the Orihuela Costa Branch of the Royal British Legion held its annual Remembrance Day Service and Parade at the Capilla de las Mil Palmeras yesterday, the 2nd Sunday in November, when poppy wreaths were laid at the Garden of Remembrance in a gesture that the Branch has uniquely made its own.
Once again, attended by a record congregation, the Rev Terry Baxter led the service, held for the 7th year in this picturesque village church in the diocese of Pilar de la Horadada.
Following the Spanish National and the Union flags the standards of the collected military associations were borne proudly to represent those who gave their lives, whilst poppies were worn as a reminder to new generations who will inevitably face new conflicts. The start of the service had seen them respectfully processed into the chapel as the congregation sang ‘For those in Peril on the Sea.’
There were readings from the British Vice Consul, Lloyd Milen, and Flight Lieutenant David Carter RAF, son of the Branch Chairman, a poem from Carol Stockwell, and a wonderful a capella rendition of ‘I Believe’ by Rebecca Holt. The music for the service was once again provided by the magnificent Phoenix Concert Band under the professional direction of their Musical Director, Julie Schofield.
Following bugler Derek Hayes performance of the mournful Last Post, which echoed out of the church and around the adjacent park, everyone was united, standing shoulder to shoulder for the two minute's silence.
As I looked around the gathered congregation prior to Derek sounding ‘Reveille’ there was more than the occasional tear with members of the congregation using this time to remember those friends, family and colleagues who had suffered or died in the service of their nation.
The ceremony then moved out to the Garden of Remembrance where the RBL Wreath was laid by the Branch Chairman Keith Carter. Wreaths were also placed by the Vice Consul, Flt Lt Carter, the Chairman of Spain District North, Nigel Hails, the Orihuela Councillor Martina Scheurer and a number of Service and Miklitary Organisations. In this way the ceremony brought together the common sentiments of all those present to share pride in restoring freedoms. The wreaths were laid to the accompaniment of a lament played by the Torrevieja Pipes and Drums.
This was followed by the opportunity for branch members and members of the public to pay their personal tributes by laying suitably adorned poppy crosses.
Following the service Vice Consul Lloyd Milen said he felt privileged to lay a poppy garland on behalf of the British Government.
Flanked by many members of the general public the final act saw the Pipes and Drums leading over a hundred and fifty members of the congregation as they marched from the church and past the assembled dignitaries prior to enjoying a delightful buffet lunch in the Mil Palmeras Restaurant.
The National Service of Remembrance, also held yesterday at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, was originally conceived as a commemoration of the war dead of the First World War but after the Second World War the scope of the ceremony was extended to focus on the nation's dead of both World Wars, and in 1980 it was widened once again to extend the remembrance to all who have suffered and died in conflict in the service of their country and all those who mourn.
Of course Remembrance is not just about those who fought in the last two World Wars, but it is also in respect of those involved in the many other conflicts worldwide and those who are still fighting for peace and freedom even now. It is also about all of us learning from the past and resolving to make the world a better place to live in the future.