THE  DOVER WAR MEMORIAL  PROJECT

 

war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper
 

 

The "We Remember" Booklet 2006

 

THE TOWN SERGEANT  

I was appointed Town Sergeant almost 10 years ago, and I am involved in Bryan Walker, picture courtesy of the Kent Messenger Group the organisation of Dover’s various civic functions. In particular, I assist in the arrangements for the Annual Remembrance Day Service and Parade.

There are many things to consider, especially protocol and the various orders of parade and wreath laying. The Royal Navy as the senior service goes first, and the Royal Air Force goes last. But the Army needs attention to detail, making sure that each Corps or Regiment is in the right order. The British Army Order of Precedence changes often and cutbacks and mergers have drastically curtailed it in the last forty years.   

The VIP order is less problematic but can still cause a few difficulties. If the District Chairman is in attendance he should lay the first wreath. In Dover, the District Chairman and the Mayor lay the first wreath together. But what happens if a Deputy Lieutenant attends? I rest my case!

The Mayor and Town Council wear robes on all civic and ceremonial occasions, to signify their status within the town. The Mayor also wears a chain of office and is preceded by the Town Sergeant and Mace. The Mace symbolises the Mayor’s authority. The Town Clerk is the ‘proper officer’ of the council. His robe and wig represents the clerk’s legal role.  

My military background has helped me immensely in ensuring that protocol is well looked after. I served for 26 years as a French Horn player in the Royal Marines Band Service, playing at many Cenotaph Services and Festivals of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, London. As a Royal Marine Bandsman I saw active service during the Falklands War of 1982.  

I learnt the bugle because it was becoRemembrance Sunday 2005, courtesy of the Kent Messenger groupming difficult to find a bugler for Dover’s Remembrance Sunday. I now play not just at the Remembrance Day Service and Parade but also at many other commemorations in Dover during the year. At the Cenotaph services nobody could fail to be moved by the Last Post, and I find it hard to believe that I am carrying out that similar role now.  

The Last Post acts as an overture to the two minutes silence. The silence is the most emotive part. The stillness of a November morning is broken by the reading of the Exhortation and followed by Reveille. The whole sequence epitomises the word ‘REMEMBRANCE’.

 Bryan Walker The Town Sergeant, Town and Cinque Port of Dover

Picture - Remembrance Sunday 2005, courtesy of the Kent Messenger group. This was the moment the Dover War Memorial Project was born. Marilyn Stephenson-Knight is on the extreme left of the picture. 




Copyright 2006 © Marilyn Stephenson-Knight. All Rights Reserved