[Chair of Bath and North East Somerset Council, Councillor Sarah Moore, Stan Ford, Wera Hobhouse MP, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset, Mohammed Saddiq]
The MP for Bath, Wera Hobhouse, joined Councillor Sarah Moore, Chair of Bath and North East Somerset Council, the Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset, Mohammed Saddiq, and representatives from veterans’ charities, and the armed and emergency services at Bath Spa Station to hand over poppy wreaths in tribute to Bath’s war veterans.
The wreaths were then carefully carried from Bath to London and placed in a poignant display with over 200 others from all across the GWR area at the War Memorial on Platform 1 at London’s Paddington Station.
The so-called “Poppy Trains” began during Covid lockdowns when local memorial ceremonies were not always possible. They enabled GWR to take wreaths from as many local communities as they could to Paddington Station to mark Armistice Day and meant that communities from across the Great Western network could be represented in the annual service of remembrance there.
The Poppy Trains were so well supported that GWR have carried on the tradition every year since to continue to allow those unable to make the long journey to London for the Cenotaph ceremony to be a part of the commemorations, and Mrs Hobhouse was honoured to be asked to attend to represent the city of Bath.
At the ceremony at Bath Spa Wera also met with local Normandy veteran and Bath resident, 98-year old Stan Ford.
Stan survived the D-Day operations in June 1944 as well as a “human torpedo” attack on his warship HMS Fratton later that year which saw the vessel sink in just four minutes and took the lives of 31 of Stan’s 80 comrades.
He was later awarded the prestigious Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest order of merit, for his heroic part in WWII.
Earlier in the week Wera had planted a cross dedicated to Stan and his shipmates in the Garden of Remembrance at Westminster.
She Hobhouse paid tribute to Stan and to all Bath’s war fallen and veterans:
“I am truly honoured to take part in this special Routes of Remembrance ceremony on behalf of my Bath constituents, and to meet the inspirational Stan Ford. We must never forget how he and his fellow sailors, soldiers and airmen and women fought for our freedom in World War II, and in all conflicts. We thank all of them for their service and their sacrifice.”
Stan said: “I was lucky when so many of my shipmates were not and I will always remember them with pride and gratitude.”