Sunday, November 12, 2006

Lest We Forget

Where we you at 11am today?

I was treading the tightrope between carrying out a job as a news photographer and displaying the respect so deserved at the laying of the poppy wreaths at the War Memorial in Hungerford.

There had been little dignity in the be-suited jogging I had indulged in before the ceremony; essential to keep ahead of the parade that made its way from the Town Hall to the Bridge Street Memorial.

I wanted to – and managed – to capture the parade with the distinctive Hungerford Town Hall in the background. Which I’m sharing with you here.

However, although they were not going at a pace, by the time I had paused and taken a shot they had caught up with me!

At the Memorial there were so many people, both laying wreaths and simply attending to remember the sacrifice made by our soldiers. This in itself present a challenge; it was tricky to take the photographs required without getting in the way or looking plain rude. I was warmly greeted by numerous people who know me – the benefit of working in your home town – so cannot have caused much offence.

I also met a charming veteran; Frank Smith, formerly with the Army Catering Corp, offered to guard my camera bag as I crept forward and was charming when he asked if there was any chance of taking a photograph for his scrapbook. Naturally there was – and even another he wanted posed with the Commanding Officer and West Berkshire MP, Richard Benyon.

When the standard bearers were dismissed it was heartening to see how many of the crowd came forward to look at the myriad of wreaths that had been laid; in particular there were children fascinated by the floral tribute. Now I don’t want to sound like a Daily Mail reader, but I didn’t expect that.

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