Veterans take centre stage at County Hall Remembrance Day service

County Hall Remembrance Tommy Wells and Jim Heppell. with Major Peter Ackroyd, of Otterburn Training Area, Captain Mark Taylor and Major Wayne Emmerson, both of Fenham Barracks
County Hall Remembrance Tommy Wells and Jim Heppell. with Major Peter Ackroyd, of Otterburn Training Area, Captain Mark Taylor and Major Wayne Emmerson, both of Fenham Barracks

Two war veterans took centre stage at a Remembrance Service at Northumberland County Council’s headquarters this morning.

Jim Heppell, 93, who served with the Royal Engineers and Tommy Wells, 95, who was a medic with the 8th Durham Light Infantry, joined councillors, ex servicemen and members of Durham Light Infantry, joined councillors , ex servicemen and members of the public for the Armistice Day Service at County Hall.

Tommy fought in the Battle of Dunkirk and widely across the Middle East. He was latterly taken as a Prisoner of War but managed to escape in Germany and make his way back to England.

He said: “I am invited here every year by Northumberland County Council and always come along. Today brings back many personal memories of friends who didn’t make it back home. When you are in the forces you build an unbreakable bond and trust. You are a team. You can’t fight by yourself. That to me is what today is all about. Remembering them. But no one ever wins in a war. Everyone is a loser.”

Jim Hepple who fought in France and the Middle East echoed Tommy’s sentiment: “Today is about remembering all the friends I went to war with. Friends that died young. You never, ever forget them.”

To mark the end of the First World War at the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month in 1918, a two-minute silence was held.

Accompanied by a Northumbrian piper, wreaths of poppies were laid at the war memorial by Northumberland County Council civic head and by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland, among others.

Also in attendance were representatives of the RAF, The Royal British Legion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and RAF Boulmer.