On Remembrance Sunday, 14 November, Showmen’s Guild delegates once again took part in the National Service of Remembrance and March Past at the Cenotaph.
They were drawn from showmen across the country, among them Veteran Thomas Rowland, (from the Western Section of the Showmen’s Guild). Thomas, ‘Tommy’, served in the RAF with Air Sea Rescue, initially at Liverpool, then based at Plymouth with the Motor Launches under the command of Earl Mountbatten.
Thomas was joined by two dozen showmen representing both their own forebears and all the showmen who served in both World Wars, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice and those who have passed away since.
All of the Showmen’s Guild Veterans could have marched with their original regiments, but most chose to march as showmen, who did their duty, recognising the Showmen’s Guild as their group identity.
The Showmen’s Guild has had a contingent at the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph annually for the last 20 years, except for last year when it did not take place. Individual showmen also marched prior to this.
In World War I, showmen across the country raised thousands of pounds to have built and equipped a fleet of ambulances for the troops abroad.
This was surpassed in World War II when they raised funds to purchase a Spitfire (several other organisations had combined to do this, but the showmen funded one entirely themselves). The Spitfire was named ‘The Fun of the Fair’ and saw active service with the 306 Polish Squadron.
It was a proud occasion on Sunday for all those who marched and their supporters along the route. The Showmen’s Guild is grateful to the Royal British Legion for their organisation of the event and its continued inclusion as part of the national commemoration.
The Showmen’s Guild is holding its own Service of Remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, Staffordshire next Sunday 21 November. The Guild memorial was dedicated and unveiled on 18 August 2008 and is a significant contribution to the national commemoration of the two World Wars within the Arboretum.
Members of The Showmen’s Guild contingent taking part in the March Past at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday.
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