Islington residents gather to remember the fallen

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Photo by Tom Little

Veterans, dignitaries and locals marched from the town hall on Upper Street to the war memorial on the green, which was full to capacity well before the service began.

Dozens of youth associations took part, and Brian Hosier, 69, chairman of the Camden, City and Islington Scout Association said the young should attend services to learn about the horrors of war.

Mr Hosier said his scouts were moved by the remembrance parade, and he said: “To hear the silence at Islington green, which is so lively and full of bustle, I think it’s the only time of year when you can hear that”.

This year’s service also emphasised Islington’s religious diversity, and members of the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh and Buddhist communities read prayers of peace.

Although the two world wars may be fading from public memory, attendance at Islington’s remembrance service was one of the highest in recent years, Mr Causton said.

However, the remembrance service was a particularly poignant occasion for veterans who had come to pay their respects to comrades who died in conflicts.

Ron Ranger, 70, chairman of the Islington Veteran’s Association was in the Royal Fusiliers for 15 years and was sent to Northern Ireland twice during the Troubles.

Wearing the medals he won for service in the conflict, as well as those his father won fighting in both world wars, Mr Ranger was pleased that the event was so well attended, saying it was “getting beyond health and safety limits now”.

However, he said more needed to be done to help veterans returning from conflicts at the present. Mr Ranger suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing the 1974 IRA bomb attack on the Tower of London.

“I had a nervous breakdown. I was given a couple of Valium and told to go back to Northern Ireland,” he said.

He urged the government to strive to help traumatised veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan so they would not have to suffer like he did after the Tower bombing.

“I served in Ireland before that, but because the attack involved children, it affected me and I’ve suffered for nearly forty years. I’m only just beginning to get treatment now,” he said.