The land and the sea

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Tuesday 7th July 2015

IMG_1781The coastguard helicopter flew low over the cliff and hovered for a couple of minutes.

As the onlookers waved from the ground, the door slid open and the crew waved back. Then the helicopter turned in a vast, commemorative circle above the gathering and headed back down the coast.

The occasion marked the annual remembrance service at the Emmett’s Hill memorial garden near Worth Matravers in Dorset. The memorial pays tribute to the memory of all the Royal Marines who were killed between 1945 and 1990.

We stumbled on it by chance on a walk along the South West Coast Path and felt honoured when an ex-marine friend invited us to Sunday’s remembrance service. As Marines past and present arrived, resplendent in their uniforms, the mood was dignified, respectful and profoundly moving. A bugler sounded The Last Post, a wreath was laid and the Rev John Hainsworth reminded us that we were there “to think of all those who have set sail from our islands to serve their country on operations all around the world.”

The memorial was built in 1992, three years after the IRA bomb that killed 11 Royal Marines band members at Deal. The motto of the Royal Marines is By Sea, By Land, and this beautiful, isolated location brings the land and the sea together perfectly. As we stood at the memorial, with the waves crashing below and the skylarks singing above, we stopped and reflected and remembered.

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