This Sunday, November 12, is Remembrance Sunday with a special civic service in St Mary’s, Rye’s parish church at the top of Lion Street, starting promptly at 10:55am. It will be preceded by a Remembrance Day parade, organised by the British Legion, from Adams in the High Street (at around 10:35am) up East Street and past the Town Hall in Market Street where the Mayor Cllr Jonathan Breeds will take the salute.
The parade with its banners will then be followed into the church by the councillors’ civic procession, with the councillors wearing black robes, white gloves and 18th century hats (bicorns for the males and tricorns for the females) – and preceded by the maces.
After the service, all will process into St Mary’s churchyard to the war memorial, which records both armed service and civilian deaths in wartime, for the laying of poppy wreaths by a wide range of local organisations and individuals.
During the First World War (1914-1918) there was an airfield on the edge of Rye and the town council has recently discussed a request for an appropriate memorial. In the Second World War (1939-1945) Rye was in the middle of two major air battles – the Battle of Britain in 1940 (with many local sites where planes were shot down) and the fight against the V1 cruise missiles in 1944, when hundreds of guns were lined up across the marshes to shoot them down.
However Rye, as a historic Cinque Port on the Channel coastline, has been on the forefront of many actual and anticipated invasions for centuries to which the Landgate and the Ypres Tower in the town from the medieval period, and the Military Canal and Martello Towers outside town in the 18th century, testify – along with pill boxes and tank traps from the 1940s.
So, it is a historic occasion in an historic town to remember its history.
Rye News Library