Sheffield pauses to remember fallen World War II heroes at commemorative service

The service today at Barkers Pool in the city centre
The service today at Barkers Pool in the city centre
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Sheffield paid tribute to its fallen heroes today at a special service to remember veterans of two World War II conflicts.

Veterans and civilians gathered at Barkers Pool in the city centre for a parade which commemorated those lost at the battles of Britain and Arnhem.

The haunting notes of the Last Post and Reveille rang out at a wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph, before a parade through the city centre.

Led by the Oughtibridge Brass Band, it made its way down Leopold Street and West Street to Sheffield Cathedral, where a service was conducted to remember those who didn't return home.

A handful of veterans were on hand for the emotional service and march.

Morris Elliott, 84, said those lost in the conflict should never be forgotten.

"They deserve all they get in remembrance," Mr Elliott, who served in the RAF and Territorial Army, said.

"Some were just young kids.

He grew emotional remembering a trip to war graves in France and Germany.

"I walked up and down the graves, and the oldest one I saw was 28," Mr Elliott, who lives on Basegreen Avenue, Basegreen said.

He recalled sleeping with a .303 rifle next to him.

Cyprus and Libya veteran Fred Hall identified with those lost.

"These lads were like me," he said.

"They got called up, and they had to fight, but they didn't come back.

"It's all about remembering those men."

Mr Hall, a Hayfield Drive, Frecheville man, was on 24-hour standby during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

"And it's a good job that didn't kick off," he said.

Seventy-four-year-old Walter Whiteley was in the Army Reserves from 1963-1983.

The St Aidan's Drive, Norfolk man said Sheffielders owed their freedom to the men who flew during the Battle of Britain.

"If it wasn't for the RAF, we wouldn't be here."

Numbers among veterans are thinning, the men said, but they were heartened to see more children turning out at Remembrance Day in November.

"The parents and grandparents bring their kids down," Mr Hall said.

The Battle of Britain raged in the skies from July to October, 1940, but some of the heaviest fighting happened on September 15, recognised as Battle of Britain Day.

RAF Fighter Command lost 544 pilots and more than 1,000 planes.

The Battle of Arnhem took place around the Dutch towns of Arnhem, Oosterbeek, Wolfheze, Driel and the surrounding countryside.

It happened from September 17-26, 1944.

Almost 2,000 Allied troops were killed in action.