Remembrance Sunday has been different for all of us this year but I would like to tell you of a different Remembrance Sunday I experienced many years ago, 1984 in fact.
I was very much involved with the W.R.V.S, at that time and was asked by Headquarters in Edinburgh if I would be the Scottish representative at the Cenotaph ceremony in London. This proved to be one of the most moving events I ever attended.
The first notification I had was dated 25th July 1984, showing how far ahead plans are laid for this occasion. I was one of twelve W.R.V.S. members and we were included in the Civilian Contingent along with the Ambulance Services of both England and Scotland and the Red Cross and came under the charge of an officer from the Fire Service.
Our instructions about uniform, travel, accommodation and sustenance were sent from the Home Office Fire Department, very much on military lines along with identification papers which had to be carried with us at all times as "stringent security arrangements are in force".
A second class return railway ticket was provided and accommodation for the Saturday night arranged. Meals were also sorted out, dinner on Saturday 10th November and lunch after the ceremony. Breakfast on the Sunday was served at 7.30 am and we had to report to the Home Office representative no later than 8 am, and thence to the assembly area in the Foreign Office Quadrangle where we were drilled, then inspected and addressed by the Home Secretary, Leon Britten. After that we marched to our position in Whitehall where we were on parade for about an hour.
We had been advised to wear warm clothing under our uniform and also the uniform greatcoat, brown shoes with a medium heel, brown gloves and brown handbag.
It was a beautiful late autumn day with the trees in Whitehall still bearing leaves and there being a very slight breeze that morning the only sound to be heard during the 2 minutes silence was the gentle fluttering of the leaves. I really can't put into words my feelings during that ceremony but to this day it can still bring tears to my eyes.
Being part of this event made me feel very honoured and proud, something I will never forget.
Sadly now there is no W.R.V.S. and I know that I am not alone in regretting its demise. However that is another story maybe for another edition of the Crier.