Armistice 100: Message of peace shared at Barking remembrance service

Remembrance service by the Job Drain statue in Barking. Picture: Luke Acton

Remembrance service by the Job Drain statue in Barking. Picture: Luke Acton - Credit: Luke Acton

Peace was the message at a remembrance service in Barking today (Friday).

Bishop Trevor Mwamba, former mayor Hardial Singh Rai and council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell spoke at the event, each emphasising the place of dialogue over armed conflict.

Children from three primary schools - St Margaret’s, St Joseph’s and Gascoigne - were also at the Job Drain statue, erected in honour of a Victoria Cross recipient who served in the First World War, to remember the dead in a minute’s silence.

Mr Singh Rai represented the Sikh community and said: “So many faiths, so many different communities, so many nations took part in that war, everybody made a sacrifice.

“Only the thousands and thousands of innocent people get killed and the politicians, well, they stay away from it.”

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Cllr Rodwell highlighted the part of Sikh, Muslim and Christian soldiers that fought and added: “I wish we had learnt from the Great War, the truth is we haven’t learnt. Hate is still prevalent, that’s why we still have war and unfortunately, 100 years on, I wonder if the people that died would be proud of the hatred we see at the moment throughout the world.”

The war is quickly passing out of living memory and, for the children at the service, is an event distant from themselves.

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Deputy lieutenant for Barking and Dagenham Ian Pittaway said that these ceremonies are an important way to remember lessons from millions of deaths.

He said:: “Clearly, dialogue, diplomacy, attempting to resolve issues in a peaceful fashion is infinitely preferable to the carnage of the First and Second World Wars.

“Learning that peace is hard sometimes, but you need to give it a chance and persevere with it before resorting to guns and bullets is quite an important lesson.”

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