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ANDOVER: Lest we forget

Andover British soldier wears Remembrance Day Poppy
British soldier wears Remembrance Day Poppy.

This Sunday (Remembrance Sunday, 2019) 95.9FM Andover Radio will honour our fallen with two minutes silence at 11am, followed by a special hour long programme of commemoration.

The peel of the bells of St Mary’s will be broadcast as the town gathers to pay respects in the church grounds at precisely 11am. A special reading of the poem ‘In Flanders Field’ will also be broadcast.

In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

It is tradition to pause for a two minute silence as clocks strike 11:00 am to remember those killed in the two world wars, as well as British servicemen who have been killed or injured since 1945.

The precise time and date commemorates the signing of the armistice between the Allies and Germany in 1918.

Following this, Martin Miller will host a special programme of music and memories from the Great War of 1914 – 1918. Martin was Andover Radio’s producer of the ‘audio landscape’, featuring the sounds and experiences of our soldiers in the Great War which accompanied the 215 Project last year.

The 215 Project was named for the 215 fallen soldiers from Andover. People gathered in Vigo Park to experience the impressive art project.

1.5 million people viewed our video on the 215 Project.

215 Project Andover

The armistice was signed in a railway carriage in a remote forest in France at 5.10am on 11th November 1918… but guns did not stop firing until almost six hours later.

Author Joseph Persico calculates that between 5am and 11am on that final day, the war claimed a further 11,000 casualties. He adds that the last day was a “microcosm of the entire war, in that it was a waste of young lives for no purpose”.

In Andover on Sunday members of the regiments who have the freedom of the borough will be in uniform, standing shoulder to shoulder with dignitaries, serving and ex-service personnel and members of the public. A time of reflection, we will give thanks in the Garden of Remembrance at St Mary’s Church.

Even the more casual of observers will note that the war memorial in Andover is the only one in the UK which states, ‘The Great War 1914 – 1920’.  These additional two years reflect the servicemen from Andover who died in anti-Bolshevik battles in Russia after the official end of the First World War.

Andover War Memorial
Andover War Memorial

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae’s poem In Flanders’ Fields moved an American teacher to start making silk poppies and sell them to raise money for ex-servicemen. The bright red poppy is a resilient flower which managed to flourish on the battlefields, despite them having been destroyed by the ravages of war.

The poppy has been the emblem of the Royal British Legion since it began in 1921.

Sunday’s programme presenter Martin says, “We take a step back from our everyday lives to reflect upon the sacrifices made by so many.

“In this programme I want to explore some of the music that was listened to by both soldiers and their loved ones during the first world war.

Music was so important during that time and with radio still in its infancy and television yet to be invented it was the gramophone records, sheet music, family gatherings around the piano and the music halls and theatres which were the top form of entertainment.

“Music was the thing that people turned to for hope, inspiration and in the case of soldiers a form of escape from the horrors that surrounded them.”

Lest we forget: 11:00am this Sunday morning (10th November 2019) on 95.9FM Andover Radio. The programme will be repeated at 7pm on Sunday.

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About the author

David Harber

David Harber

David Harber is the founder and Managing Director of Love Andover.

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