Commonwealth Day is marked by town’s veterans

Veterans at the War Graves Memorial at Hastings Cemetery. Picture by Frank Copper

Veterans at the War Graves Memorial at Hastings Cemetery. Picture by Frank Copper

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Veterans in town held services to mark Commonwealth Day.

Members of Hastings and St Leonards Veterans Association commemorated the Commonwealth of Nations on March 8 and 9 with ceremonies at the Commonwealth War Memorial at Hastings Cemetery and at the front of the Town Hall in Queen’s Square.

Richard Butcher, from the association, said: “Fly a flag for the Commonwealth was the world-wide motto this year and it was duly taken up by Hastings and St Leonards Veterans Association at both ceremonies.

“The Mayor, Bruce Dowling, laid a wreath at the Commonwealth War Memorial for the military parade and service, while the Deputy Mayor, Judy Rogers, led the civic ceremony, to which members of other Commonwealth nations had been invited.

Veterans also marked the 72nd anniversary on March 11 when Hastings and St Leonards suffered a devastating air raid in 1943.

It resulted in 38 civilian deaths with many more injured.

Last Wednesday (March 11) in the presence of the Mayor and their Senior Officer (Air), Peter Holland MBE, members of Hastings and St Leonards Veterans Association paraded in front of the Town Hall.

Standards were dipped, and the Union flag was withdrawn to half-mast in salute to those killed and injured.

During the service personal recollections of that dark day were given by Tony Selmes, vice-chairman of Hastings and St Leonards Royal Air Forces Association.