Second World War Royal Air Force veteran Les Lamb says there are countless reasons why he attends Remembrance Day ceremonies each year.
“There are a million reasons why,” Lamb said. “I joined the British air force’s Commonwealth Squadron during World War II when I was 17. I served alongside British, Canadian and Australian soldiers and some from New Zealand.
“I was wounded when we were shot down over England. I lost part of my ear and I had flak in my legs, but we were very lucky. Those were everyday happenings at that time. While we had these mishaps, I walked away from them.”
The 87-year-old veteran and Scotland resident was among more than 3,000 people who attended the annual Civic Service of Remembrance at the Brant County War Memorial on Sunday.
Lamb said he believes war can be avoided if younger generations remember the sacrifices of veterans.
“It’s more important for young people to remember because we don’t want it to happen again,” Lamb said. “In just one bombing raid over Germany, the RAF lost more than 200 men.”
Second World War Canadian army veteran Walter Detheridge said his fellow soldiers were on his mind on Remembrance Day.
“We remember a lot of things,” said Detheridge, 89, a former infantryman with the Essex Scottish Regiment based in Windsor. “Especially all those poor guys that got killed.”
Detheridge said the Second World War brought him to England first. He later fought through France, Holland, Belgium and Germany.
“I was there for three years,” Detheridge said. “I was wounded three times in France. I took bullets in my arm, shoulder and one went between my ear and head. So, I remember.”
Sunday’s ceremony included the singing of O Canada and God Save the Queen, a reading of In Flanders Fields, a fly-over by two war planes, the Last Post played by Samantha Mank of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets, a wreath-laying ceremony, prayers and other acts of remembrance.
Maj. Ralph Hewlett, padre of Unit 13 of the Korean Veterans Association, led those gathered at the war memorial in prayer.
“We give thanks today for those who gave their lives for our freedom,” Hewlett said. “There are probably some veterans that were with us last year that are not with us now.
“Some had terrible things to do and some had terrible things done to them. Lord, save our young people from the horrors of war and may there be peace in our time.”
Brantford resident Karen Haas said there is a special place in her heart for those who have served and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
“I came out to honour our fallen soldiers,” Haas said. “I feel so emotional about the ones serving for us now. We pray every day that it will get better for them and better for all.”
Don Belisle of Brantford said he came to honour his brother and friends who are veterans.
“Some of my friends were in World War II,” Belisle said. “Some were killed. My brother was wounded three times. I wanted to pay respect to their memory.”