A TOWN with a proud military heritage came together to mark one of the most momentous of occasions in the form of the 80th anniversary since the D-Day Landings.

In a ceremony held outside of Bodmin Keep, which during World War II was part of a sprawling site known as Victoria Barracks.

Best known for its time as the base of the Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry, it played its part during the battle against the Axis Powers between 1939 and 1945 as an infantry training centre.

While only a few buildings remain of the vast expanse of the barracks, the Keep plays a vital role in remembering the past, with Cornwall’s Army Museum being formed in 1925.

Mayor of Bodmin, Cllr Liz Ahearn and Cllr Mike Barbery laying a wreath
Mayor of Bodmin, Cllr Liz Ahearn and Cllr Mike Barbery laying a wreath (Aaron Greenaway/Tindle)

80 years on from the day which helped decide the war, while very few veterans remain from D-Day, their actions of courage were remembered by the generations which followed as a town came to together to give its thanks.

In an occasion led by war veterans and the Royal British Legion, townsfolk and invited dignitaries were joined by clergy, the mayor of Bodmin and the town crier and mace bearer in a service to remember those who gave their lives.

After an introduction from Mr Peter Champness, the chairman of the trustees of the museum, the service was led by the Padre, Rev Canon John Halkes, with the exhortation provided by Nigel James MBE, the Chairman of the Cornwall Branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL).

Veterans who took part in the ceremony gather for a photo
Veterans who took part in the ceremony gather for a photo (Aaron Greenaway/Tindle)

A playing of the Last Post, with standards dipped was followed by a two-minutes silence and the reveille, with the standards once again raised before the Kohima Epitaph, which read: “When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today.”

The wreath laying ceremony followed this, led by Councillor Liz Ahearn, the Mayor of Bodmin, Colonel Tom French OBE and the chair of the Bodmin branch of the RBL, Mr Derek Coad.

With the poignancy of the occasion ramped up a notch after the laying of the wreaths, the Padre addressed the crowds with the service, with those in attendance urged to join him in giving thanks for their sacrifices in addition to the reconciliation of former enemies and the flourishing of goodwill between them.

Veterans bringing wreaths to the ceremony
Veterans bringing wreaths to the ceremony (Aaron Greenaway/Tindle)

Mr Champness then provided a reading from the scripture, before Mr James MBE read the prayer for the armed forces with this being followed by the Lord's Prayer, A prayer for the Sovereign, the first verse of the national anthem and a final blessing.

Councillor Liz Ahearn, Mayor of Bodmin said: “It was a genuine privilege to play a part in today’s fantastic ceremony to remember those who played their part in D-Day. It was a terrific service and those present and organising it did Bodmin extremely proud as it came together to mark the occasion.”

A veteran gives a salute after laying a wreath
A veteran gives a salute after laying a wreath (Aaron Greenaway/Tindle)