IT was a moment when one generation reached out to another.
Children and teenagers stood shoulder to shoulder with veterans, families and widows to remember the ultimate sacrifices of those who remain forever young.
Shortly before a moving silence marking Armistice Day, pupils from across Southampton lined up in front of what symbolises the city’s continuing gratitude to these lost men and boys.
Following a countdown they unveiled new memorial walls beside the city’s cenotaph, in Watts Park, all made possible by their fundraising help. Then the Mayor of Southampton Councillor Terry Matthews officially blessed the green reinforced glass walls listing the city’s war dead.
Cllr John Hannides, Cabinet member for resources, leisure and culture at the city council, said: “The walls stand as a fitting tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of all Southampton’s war dead.”
The Daily Echo and Hampshire Chamber of Commerce-backed project was commissioned by Southampton City Council two years ago to safeguard the names of the 1,992 First World War dead inscribed on the Portland stone cenotaph, which are in danger of being eroded.
The new panels have been etched with the names already on the cenotaph, together with 376 not recorded on its roll of honour, as well as the 927 killed during the Second World War and three in conflicts since.
Archie Parsons, from the Southampton branch of the Royal British Legion, said: “This is long overdue and important for relatives and loved ones.”
Then, on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, a klaxon air raid siren wailed in the distance before the mournful sounding of the Last Post and a two-minute silence. A foghorn blast of the passenger ship Independence of the Seas, berthed in the docks, marked the end of the silence.
Doreen Allen, 87, from Romsey, who lost family members during the Second World War, said: “It brings back so many memories for me. It is wonderful to have so many young people here.”
A fundraising campaign is continuing to pay for the memorial walls.
Click here for details on how to donate.