Remembrance Day Sheffield: Bugle rings out for two-minute silence in city as ceremony returns after Covid

Sheffield city centre fell still today as hundreds gathered to mark Remembrance day with a two-minute silence.

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 3:15 pm

It was a moment of gathered reflection that was denied for many last year when coronavirus restrictions meant the annual ceremony could not be held with an audience.

But today (November 11), flagbearers and buglers were able to hold their parade once again outside City Hall while a quiet crowd paid their respects to people who lost their lives to war.

Hundreds of onlookers fell silent as the bells of the town hall marked 11am. The Lord Mayor, Deputy Lieutenant, High Sheriff & Master Cutler, veterans, service personnel and cadets laid wreaths at the war memorial before the parade was dismissed.

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The first wreath was laid by Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Gail Smith.

The first wreath was laid by Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Gail Smith.

She said: “It is a great honour for me to lead this year’s Remembrance Day service. It is so important for us to be able to come together and remember together the selfless sacrifices made by our Armed Forces and everyone who has given their lives for our country so we can live in peace and freedom.”

The parade came after a plaque was unveiled in memory of the ‘Sheffield Pals’ just half an hour earlier in the council chambers at the town hall.

Hundreds of onlookers fell silent as the bells of the town hall marked 11am.

The pals – formally known as the Sheffield City Battalion (12th York and Lancaster Regiment) – were formed in 1914 and made up of recruits who grew up and lived together.

But in the devastating first day of the Battle of the Somme, the battalion saw 495 soldiers dead or wounded.

The ruinous impact on communities like Sheffield who would lose generations of men in tragically little time led to the ‘pals’ recruitment strategy being scrapped.

Unveiling of a plaque to Sheffield PALS in Shefiield Town Hall's Council Chamber. L-R Bryan Lodge , Terry Fox, Tony Damms Gail Smith, Col. Jeffrey Norton, Ordinary Cadet Ben Crofts and Jackie Drayton. Picture Scott Merrylees

Today, a plaque was unveiled at the town hall in the same room in which the recruits would have signed up in 1914.

The ceremony was attended by retired Colonel Geoffrey Norton, of the York and Lancaster Regiment, who spearheaded funding for the memorial and wrote the commemoration.

He said: “Many people have wanted to see this plaque for a long time. The council got the idea rolling and I thought it was a wonderful idea.

"I think those years of 1914 to 1918 were brought into sharp focus this century, and really brought home to people what happened. I never learned about WW1 when I was in school, and a lot of veterans didn’t speak about it.

Armistice Day at Barkers Pool in Sheffield. The city centre fell quiet at 11am today for the two-minute silence for Remembrance Day.

"To get this plaque in the chamber where they actually signed up in 1914 is really wonderful.”

Across the city in Crystal Peaks shopping centre, a ceremony was also held as members of the Royal British Legion met to hear the Last Post and march on through the west mall.

“The Remembrance Day Parade is a tradition that Crystal Peaks is always extremely proud and honoured to support and we are very pleased that after last year’s Covid break, we can welcome our veterans back again,” said centre manager Lee Greenwood.

Churches and communities across Sheffield also held their own events, including a service at St Nicholas Church in High Bradfield and one at St Johns Church in Ranmoor, who also hosted theirs online.

A parade was carried out by cadets and veterans who carried standards to the war memorial.
Flagbearers and buglers were able to hold their parade once again outside city hall while a quiet crowd paid their respects to people who lost their lives to war.
The Lord Mayor, Deputy Lieutenant, High Sheriff & Master Cutler, veterans, service personnel and cadets laid wreaths at the war memorial.