An emotional Remembrance Day service was held for the first time at Whitby’s new war memorial at Dock End on Monday.
Veterans, dignitaries and residents who gathered for the service were joined by 28 troops from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, the regiment which Whitby’s fallen soldier Andrew Found was serving in when he lost his life.
Platoon commander Second Lieutenant Greg Main had served with Craftsman Found in Afghanistan. He said: “It’s a privilege and an honour because I knew him. It was great and the lads are happy to be here as well.”
For the troops on the front line, Lt Main said public acts of remembrance such as this help maintain morale. He added: “It’s very humbling to know that there’s a lot of support back in the UK. I don’t know if the lads would be feeling as good out there if there was not that large support back in the UK.”
At the service, the moment’s silence was preceded with a rendition of the Last Post, played on the trumpet by Ellenor Paxton.
Following Whitby tradition, a maroon was then fired from the lifeboat house and those gathered bowed their head for a period of quiet reflection.
When this was concluded a piper played Amazing Grace as wreaths were laid upon the memorial.
Whitby’s mayor, Councillor John Freeman, who admitted to getting “quite emotional” during the event, said: “I would like to thank all concerned who made the first Armistice Day Service at the War Memorial such a moving event. Even the weather could not dampen the Whitby Spirit with the large turnout of people to pay their respects.
“We were very honoured to have a detachment of troops from REME - Andrew Found’s regiment to pay respects to their fallen comrade and all others who have given the ultimate sacrifice.
“The now completed War Memorial has proved to be a real focus for acts of remembrance for the town and individuals.”
Mayor Freeman added that Whitby residents had taken the memorial to their hearts, and the success of the service confirmed that it had been located in the correct place.
The service marked the culmination of four years’ work for Councillor Sean Rixham-Smith, who first noted the lack of a public war memorial in the town following the death of Corporal Damian Lawrence in Helmand Province in 2008.
“It’s great that the town now has a place to remember them,” he said. “I’m just really pleased that everything went so well today.”
The memorial has recently had rails installed onto it which were constructed and donated by Egton blacksmith James Godbold. Coun Rixham-Smith gave his seal of approval to them, adding: “For me personally, after all the work we have done, it looks finished and it’s a beautiful thing.”
Following the service, the troop of soldiers made their way to the West Pier Memorial Bridge, which is dedicated in memory of their fallen comrades.