Remembrance Sunday: Black Country and Staffordshire pays tribute to fallen heroes - with PICTURES and VIDEO
'At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them, we will remember them'
As the poignant words of Laurence Binyon's For The Fallen Poem rang out at ceremonies across the region, emotion spilled out on the faces of veterans coming together to remember their fallen comrades.
Remembrance Day, the 11th day of the 11th month, was marked yesterday with parades and services in Wolverhampton, Dudley, Walsall and West Bromwich.
Services were also held in Stafford, Stone, Rugeley, Penkridge, Cannock and Lichfield.
A larger remembrance event was also held at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire.
In Wolverhampton, a parade featuring representatives from RAF Cosford, 4th Battalion The Mercian Regiment, 103 Regiment Royal Artillery and British Korean Veterans Association started from Wulfruna Street at 10.30am.
The parade, led by West Midlands Fire Service's Wind Band, snaked through the city centre past lines of people watching from the street before arriving at St Peter's Square, between the church and the city council offices.
A service was then held at the cenotaph at 11am. A poem was read out about the Battle of Passchendaele, the third battle of Ypres in the First World War, which ended 100 years ago.
Among those to lay a wreath was the Mayor of Wolverhampton, councillor Elias Mattu. He said:
He said: "The annual Observance of Remembrance is an opportunity for the people of Wolverhampton to pay tribute to the men and women of our Armed Forces, past, present and future.
A service was then held at St Peter's Collegiate Church before a reception at Wolverhampton Art Gallery.
Seven miles away, in Walsall, a similar parade took place, starting in Hatherton Street in the town centre.
Those taking part including representatives the Walsall Normandy Veterans Associations, the Walsall and Bloxwich Staffordshire Regiment Association and the Merican Volunteers Regimental Association.
The procession, led by The Staffordshire Band, arrived at the cenotaph in Bradford Place at around 10.40am, when a service then took place, led by Revd Mark Kinder.
As the parade stood to attention, hundreds of people gathered around it, joining in the hymns and bowing their heads when prayers were read out.
Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven was the first hymn, followed by a reading called Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5 by Mayor Marco Longhi.
Revd Emily Reynolds then gave an address where she described finding letters at her late grandmother's house from her grandfather as he departed for service in World War Two.
For The Fallen Poem was read out before the bugler sounded out the last post and a two-minute silence fell on Walsall town centre, signalled by a rifle salute by the HQ Company 4 Mercian.
After a final blessing by Rev Mark Kinder the national anthem was sang before the parade returned to Hatherton Street. It was greeted by applause.
But before it retired, a small ceremony was held outside the statue of John Carless, who received a posthumous Victoria Cross for his fight on a Royal Navy ship in the First World War in the North Sea.
Among those taking part was Corporal Frank Corbett, aged 96, from Essington. He served in the South Staffordshire Regiment 7th Battalion, taking part in the Normandy landing at Gold Beach.
He said: "It brings back memories every year, this service - I remember landing in 6ft of water, and just real noise, from people, guns and planes.
"It is important we hold this event every year to remember those who had fallen."
A service also took place in Dudley.
A parade made up of armed forces veterans and led by The Salvation Army band went through the town centre, before stopping at the cenotaph in Ednam Road for the service.
Among those to lay a wreath was the Mayor of Dudley, Councillor Dave Tyler.
He said: “It has been a privilege to lead our commemorations to honour the fallen and remember the sacrifices they made to protect future generations.
“We have also had time to reflect on the contribution of our army, navy, air force veterans and those men and women who continue to serve in our Armed Forces today.
“We owe them our freedom and I would like to thank everyone who came along today to show their support and pay their respects.”
In West Bromwich, a parade finished for a service at Dartmouth Park. West Bromwich East MP Tom Watson was among those to attend. He laid a wreath at the service.