Royal British Legion

DRIVING rain meant the Woking Poppy Day proceedings had to take cover on Saturday, but the event was still a financial success for the borough’s annual remembrance appeal.

A ceremony and entertainment in Jubilee Square helped raised the profile of the borough’s Poppy Appeal, with £2,800 collected in and around the town centre during the event.

After their opening parade, British Airways Marching Band musicians sat down to entertain with another session of popular music

The wet weather on Saturday morning meant that members of Tracey Summerscales Dance Academy were unable to perform their displays in Jubilee Square. The remaining activities were transferred to the cover of Mercia Walk in the shopping centre.

Woking Poppy Appeal organiser John Stocker said he was delighted with the response of the public to the collectors, who included members of the Air Training Corps, Police Cadets and Sea Cadets.

Nadine Coates, wearing her Father’s army service medals, reads a poem

“The cadets were a great help and very enthusiastic,” he said. “They collected a lot of money for the appeal, with the sea cadets doing particularly well at the railway station.”

The Poppy Day event was opened by the British Airways Marching Band and there were also performances by Oatlands Pipe Band and Alder Valley Brass Band. The Exhortation – We Will Remember Them – was read at 11am, followed by a minute’s silence.

The Remembrance Sunday event in Woking commences at 10.15am, when a parade of uniformed units and organisations will march from the HG Wells Centre to the War Memorial in Jubilee Square. The service starts at 10.35am, concluding with a two-minute silence at 11am and the laying of wreaths. Afterwards, the uniformed units and organisations will march past the dignitaries in Church Street East.

For the full story get the 7 November edition of the News & Mail

THE Brookwood Last Post Association has held its first Muslim commemoration service.

The group’s event for July paid homage to Muslim soldiers who fought in the First World War.

The flag of Pakistan is among the standards lowered during the sounding the Last Post by a Scout bugler

A gathering was held at the Brookwood Military Cemetery’s Muslim plot, before the participants moved on to the RAF Memorial.

Prayers were led by the head imam at the of the Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking, Hafiz Hashmi, and Major Mohammed Naveed, of the Armed Forces Muslim Association, gave a talk on the history of the Muslim involvement in the armed forces.

In keeping with every Brookwood Last Post service, a tribute to Sepoy Sikander Khan, who is buried in the Muslim plot, was read by Zafar Iqbal, senior policy officer for community engagement at Woking Borough Council.

The service was concluded with singing of the national anthem.

Brookwood Last Post Association stages a ceremony at the RAF Memorial at 3pm on the first Sunday of the month.

The event, attended by local Royal British Legion representatives and military and young people’s organisations, features the sounding of the Last Post and Reveille. A service person buried at Brookwood is usually selected for a remembrance tribute.

Further tributes to Muslim soldiers were made at the former Muslim burial ground on Horsell Common on Sunday 14 July.

For the full story get the 25 July edition of the News & Mail

EXACTLY 75 years ago – 6 June 1944 – a massive Allied invasion force descended on Normandy in France.

D-Day, Operation Neptune, as was its official codename, was the largest seaborne assault in history.

Woking Electric Supply Company’s wartime fire crew, with William Francis standing second from left

It was the beginning of Operation Overlord, which aimed to liberate western Europe from Nazi control.

News & Mail reader William Francis was an electrician in the RAF around the time of D-Day.

He was stationed at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire. Although officially assigned to a training wing he recalls loading aircraft with bombs.

Before he was called up, he worked for the Woking Electric Supply Company.

During the Second World War it had its own fire service. Employees were formed into two crews who alternated keeping a night-time watch in case the works was bombed and set alight.

He recalls they had a covered cart with a ladder attached and all their own equipment including a pump.

An underground storeroom was used as an air-raid shelter where they could also get a bit of sleep.

He said: “I spent most nights on duty there until I was called up. But sometime after D-Day we were surplus to requirements in the RAF, so I transferred to the Fleet Air Arm and ended up in Scotland before returning to work at Woking Electric.”

For the full story, see the 6 June edition of the News & Mail

SERVICE veterans and young people joined together to honour England’s patron saint on Sunday morning.

They combined for the annual St George’s Day parade and service at St Peter’s Church in Old Woking.

The mayor and mayoress arrive for the parade

The church was full for a service which included a seven-question quiz about St George presented by the vicar, the Rev Johnathan Thomas.

The event saw standards from naval ex-service groups including the Royal Marines Association and the Royal Naval Association being carried, along with a Royal British Legion standard.

A union flag and a St George’s flag were also carried and Rajendra Chhetri represented former Ghurkhas and the Nepalese community, bearing the flag of Nepal.

Members of Woking’s Sea Cadets, Junior Sea Cadets and Royal Marine Cadets, based at TS Dianthus in Goldworth Park, also attended.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Woking, Cllr Will Forster and Hannah Thompson, were guests at the occasion and chatted with the standard bearers.

As befits a naval occasion, tots of rum were taken at the end of the service.

See the special picture feature in the 2 May edition of the News & Mail