Islington pays tribute to the fallen
15 November, 2019 — By Calum Fraser
School children meet a veteran
THE thousands of Islington men and women who died in past wars were remembered with a wreath-laying ceremony and two minutes’ silence.
Veterans of the wars that shaped the world in the 20th century watched on as a vast crowd poured into Islington Green on Remembrance Sunday.
A parade of drummers, scouts, cadets, politicians and veterans marched down Upper Street before an interfaith service and two minutes’ silence at 11am.
Ken Watts, 94, of Lofting Road in Barnsbury, was part of the first wave of infantry who landed on Gold Beach during the D-Day landings in 1944 under heavy gunfire from the Germans.
Wreaths being laid
He said: “These memorials bring back a lot of memories. I wonder how many of my unit is still with us. These days are for remembering my friends who died and that’s what I do every year.”
He added: “I remember we reached a wheat field before it had been harvested. Shells were dropping all over the place but when someone fell we wouldn’t be able to see them in the field. A lot of my friends died.”
Mr Watts, who was part of the Second Battalion, Devons, was injured when a mortar struck a tree two feet above his head.
Mr Watts sat by the side of the war memorial with other veterans in Islington Green on Sunday as several wreaths were laid to mark the day.
Reverend Nigel Williams led a multifaith service in which he said that 10,000 people from Finsbury had died during the First World War while 41 bombs had been dropped in Islington during the Second World War, killing hundreds.
Pupils from The Gower School in Cynthia Road, Angel, attended the ceremony and met one the few British veterans of the Vietnam war.
Headteacher Emma Gower said: “I think it is so important for the children to come down for days like these.”
Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn and Islington South MP Emily Thornberry also attended the Remembrance ceremonies.
Other ceremonies were held at the Spa Green Garden in Finsbury at noon and Major Gardens in Holloway at 1.30pm.