FESTIVE tributes were laid on each of the war graves in Pershore Cemetery as the town remembered those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The Pershore and District Branch of the Royal British Legion and Women’s Section, Royal Naval Association, Pershore Town Council and members of the public took the time to watch the cadet units and pupils from Pershore High School lay poppy crosses on Sunday (December 14).
The historic service was started by the late Coun John Smith with the Pershore Youth Fellowship back in 1945 when they went carol singing around the town to raise funds to buy the materials to make a wreath for every military grave in the cemetery.
Organisation of the service was transferred to the Royal British Legion but has been held every December for the past 69 years.
Members of the Cadet Forces now brave the December elements to lay a poppy cross in remembrance at each grave.
This year, under the leadership of RSM Russell Dalton, saw the cadets joined by pupils from Pershore High School in the
largest attended service for many years.
Wreaths were also laid on the Cross of Sacrifice by RBL women’s section chairman Stephanie Elphick of the Royal British Legion Women’s Section and Trudy Burge, Honorary Secretary of the Royal Naval Association.
There are 72 military graves at Pershore Cemetery with 64 burials during the Second World War of which 41 were Canadian.
Most of them were stationed at nearby RAF Pershore and RAF Defford and died either in plane crashes or training accidents in the area.
There are eight graves scattered around the cemetery including some from the First World War.
A Christmas wreath was also laid at the stone in Pershore’s Commemorative Garden in the Abbey Park which is dedicated to
all those from the town who have served their country in the armed forces.
Visit http://pershoremilitarygraves.webeden.co.uk/ or the Pershore Military Graves Facebook page
for more information about the men buried in the military graves in the town.
Trudy Burge lays a star wreath at the grave of Ernie Desjardins which she has done each year for the last 10 years since his niece Jill Brandelli made contact with the RNA. She also laid a wreath on
Graham Hynam’s grave, pilot of the Brandy Cask Crash Wellington Bomber, and Alton O’Neil’s grave. (s)
Trudy Burge and Stephanie Elphick lay their wreaths. (s)
Young people of Pershore laying a poppy cross at each war grave. (s)
Veterans leading the parade of Cadet Units up to the Cross of Sacrifice. Picture supplied by Trudy Burge