Leicestershire united in silence on Remembrance Sunday
Across the city and county thousands turned out to honour the men and women who gave their lives in the name of duty.
With the death toll in Afghanistan rising almost by the day, organisers reported increases in people attending Remembrance Sunday events.
In Loughborough, around 5,000 people lined the streets to watch 1,500 service personnel march towards the Carillon Tower. Ken Carson, parade organiser and treasurer to the town’s Royal British Legion, believed it was a record turnout.
He said: “It’s getting bigger and bigger every year and I think there is no doubt it’s because of Afghanistan.”
Thousands of miles from the Carillon Tower, one city soldier paid his respects at Britain’s biggest military base in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Leading Hand Matt Burrows was among 200 servicemen and women who gathered to remember those who have died in the Afghan conflict and in other wars down the years.
The 28-year-old from Leicester, was also there to honour the latest casualty of the conflict – a soldier from the 2nd Battalion, The Rifles who became the 231st to die since operations began eight years ago.
Only hours later the MOD confirmed details that another British soldier from 4th Battalion The Rifles had been killed.
Leading Hand Burrows said: “It’s quite a sobering thought – the number of people who have died in action.”
Dozens of Remembrance events were held across Leicestershire and Rutland including Coalville, Harborough, Melton, Hinckley, Lutterworth and dozens of other towns and villages.
At Belgrave cemetery, candles were lit for those past and present, all of who have died in conflict.
Signalman Luke Rogers, from the Royal Corps of Signals, travelled from his base in Yorkshire to spend the weekend with his family in Leicestershire.
The 18-year-old from Quorn, attended a service of remembrance in Syston.
He said: “During the two minutes silence I thought about my mates out there [in Afghanistan].
"I feel very proud.”
Last month, Senior Aircraftman Marcin Wojtak from 34 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, joined the list of those who have died in Afghanistan.
The 24-year-old, from Croxton Kerrial, near Melton, was killed when a roadside bomb exploded while he was on patrol around Camp Bastion, in Helmand Province, on October 1.
His family were guests of honour at Leicester City’s Remembrance Weekend match against West Bromwich Albion at the Walkers Stadium on Saturday.
Club legend Alan Birchenall said it was an honour to stand in tribute alongside the 28,740 who attended.
He said: “It was awesome, a way to pay tribute to past and present soldiers.”
In northern Cyprus around 10 relatives and former members of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment, the Tigers, took part in an unveiling ceremony of the British Cyprus Memorial.
Veterans of the Cyprus Emergency attended in honour of the 371 servicemen who lost their lives during the 1950s conflict.