FALLEN soldiers, army veterans, and inspiring servicemen and women tasked with braving today’s battlefields were honoured during a poignant ceremony held in Colchester this morning.

The traditional Remembrance Sunday and wreath-laying service took place at the town’s historic War Memorial, which is positioned in the High Street next to Castle Park.

135 soldiers from the 16 Air Assault Brigade and 36 Signal Squadron, 71 (City of London Yeomanry) Signal Regiment stood shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of residents.

Halstead Gazette:

The courageous comrades were also joined by civic dignitaries such as the Mayor of Colchester, councillor Nick Cope, and the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Nick Charrington.

Poppy wreaths were positioned at the foot of the memorial as an atmosphere of both sadness and defiance filled the air.

At 11am, a respectful mood draped over the gathered crowds after a fired shot from the 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery marked the beginning of what was a touching two minute silence.

The moment of reflection - during which all of those affected by both World Wars and all military operations since were remembered - ended with a final shot from the iconic 105mm Light Gun.

Speaking after the Service of Remembrance, the Mayor of Colchester, councillor Nick Cope, said: “It was wonderful to see people of different ages, faiths and communities come together to remember the victims of war and honour the bravery and sacrifice of all those members of the Armed Forces who are currently prepared to put themselves in harm’s way to ensure our continuing freedoms.”

The soldiers, based at the town’s Merville Barracks, were headed up by Brigadier John Clark, Commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, and Lieutenant Colonel Jim McManus, Commander of Colchester Garrison.

Lt Col McManus said: “It has been a huge privilege to join with the people of Colchester to mark Remembrance Sunday, and a demonstration of the powerful bonds between the town’s military and civilian communities.

"From veterans proudly wearing their medals to young people in youth organisations and serving soldiers to members of the general public, all were there for different reasons but all stood together to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Tomorrow morning another two minute silence will also be conducted by the Major on the steps of Colchester Town Hall from 11am to commemorate Armistice Day.

He will be joined by soldiers from the Garrison, civic dignitaries and council staff, and members of the public are encouraged to attend.