"We Remember" Booklet 2006
THE TOWN SERGEANT
I was appointed Town Sergeant
almost 10 years ago, and I am involved in
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
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
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’.
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.