Hedge End war hero James Reed pays tribute to the fallen at the Remembrance Sunday Service
By Caroline_W | Monday, November 15, 2010, 19:59
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
James Reed at Hedge End's War Memorial
Hedge End War Memorial
Hedge End War Memorial Sunday 14 November 2010
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
The words of Laurence Binyon from his poem For the Fallen (1914) were spoken at Hedge End’s Remembrance Sunday service yesterday, 14 November, by Hedge End resident James Reed.
Totton-born Mr Reed, now 88, was 15 when he joined the Navy in 1937 as a boy seaman and during his years of service he rose to become a Petty Officer Gunner and Instructor.
Awarded eleven decorations, Mr Reed served throughout the Second World War. On Sunday he wore with pride his medals which include the Atlantic Medal, the Africa Star, the Burma Star, and the Norwegian Participation Medal.
This last medal was awarded to Mr Reed for his part in the rescue of the King of Norway, King Haakon VII, and Crown Prince Olav from the path of the invading German army in 1940.
In all HMS Glasgow took to safety 277 people. In addition to the royal passengers were diplomats, members of the government, civil servants and wounded servicemen, plus 23 tonnes of gold. King Haakon and Crown Prince Olav were landed at Tromso in Norway where they remained until the Norwegians capitulated to the Germans in June and the royal party finally left for Britain.
Mr Reed also took part in the invasion of North Africa, trained gunners for the D-Day landings in Normandy, served in the Pacific and at Okinawa and was in the landing party from HMS Indomitable which took back Hong Kong following the Japanese surrender in 1945.
When asked what Remembrance Sunday means to him, Mr Reed replied, “All Remembrance days have a feeling of deep sadness for me.
“Wars are terrible and the human suffering tremendous to bear. My thoughts recall so much grief, and I feel for all the loved ones, family, relatives and friends coming together on this special day.
“It is on these days, especially Armistice Day, that the nation comes together, with people from all walks of life praying and remembering the very many lives lost while serving their country.
“We are here to show our respect and gratitude to those who have perished.”
Despite the rain the crowds turned out in force yet again this year to watch the parade march up from the 2000 Centre and to take part in the Remembrance Sunday service at the war memorial in St John’s Road, to observe the two minutes silence and remember the servicemen and women who have given their lives in past and present conflicts.
The verse in Lawrence Binyon’s poem continues
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
These words were recited in Hedge End this year by a pupil from Wildern School which was particularly fitting as she represented a vast number of young people at the service, from those in the uniform of the scouts or guides, to individual residents of Hedge End, and Mr Reed noted their attendance.
He said, “I am looking at the hundreds of people here today at the war memorial, and what stands out especially is the number of children who are here. They are the future and it’s wonderful to see them remembering those people who have given their lives to restore peace.”