Mother's time to remember her lost hero son

Among the millions who paid their own private tribute on Remembrance Sunday was a mother for whom the occasion had added significance.

Angela Robinson's son Ross suffered severe spinal injuries in Afghanistan on Remembrance Sunday last year when an improvised explosive device blew up, killing a close comrade and wounding others.

The 21-year-old from Leeds, who was serving with 4th Battalion, the Rifles, carried on clearing the ground for the other casualties to be rescued and only succumbed to his own injuries back at base.

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He was flown home on Remembrance Day, November 11, but after months of treatment was killed in a road accident the day after being discharged from the military rehabilitation centre at Headley Court.

Rifleman Ross was posthumously awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal for bravery.

Mrs Robinson, along with her husband Steven and son Luke, were among those taking part in the service in Leeds yesterday, their first since Ross died.

She said: "It's been a horrendous week and I had to take the week off work. It's been very emotional and very hard, I'm absolutely whacked out by it.

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The family were buoyed, however, by the size of the crowds at the war memorial in the Headrow.

"It was lovely that so many people had made the effort," Mrs Robinson said.

"There was such a big crowd, it was overwhelming really.

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In Hull, members of the public joined veterans in a crowd of about 2,500 for a city centre service.

The Humberside Police brass band played hymns as they gathered in the crisp morning air around the memorial in Paragon Square.

Royal Navy Petty Officer Simon Taylor, 42, who was proudly wearing the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, the Jubilee Medal and the Deterrent Pin, for keeping a nuclear deterrent at sea, was there to help honour earlier generations.

"They laid their lives down for us to do what we do today," he said. "It's important to keep it going.

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In the crowd was Valerie Shann, 68, who was with her husband Peter, 69, and said the turnout was "tremendous".

"I wanted to come to see them because they deserve the recognition," she said.

"My brothers were in the Army, and our dads and grandads. I don't think there's many left who were there in 1939.

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All stood in silent reflection as a lone bugler sounded the Last Post.

The service ended with the singing of the National Anthem, after which the veteran sailors, soldiers and airmen, along with serving men and women, paraded through the city centre, applauded by people lining the route.

Those attending the service at the Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington, near York, were joined by a French Air Force veteran involved in the last German crash on British soil.

Lucien Mallia, 89, brought his family with him for a service of remembrance at the French Air Force Memorial at the site, which honours the two French Squadrons that served from RAF Elvington in the Second World War.

He survived 23 operations with 346 Guyenne Squadron RAF.Mr Mallia was rear gunner on a French Halifax aircraft that was attacked on its return to base on the night of March 3, 1945, and as the Ju88 Luftwaffe bomber attempted another attack it came in too low and crashed into a farmhouse in Elvington, killing the crew and two women inside.

Sheffield city centre also came to a standstill as the day was marked with a parade, a wreath-laying ceremony and two- minute silence in Barker's Pool.

Wreaths laid on the war memorial included those dedicated to Corporal Liam Riley, a soldier described by Prince Harry as a "legend", who died in an explosion in Afghanistan in February.

The 21-year-old, of 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, the Duke of Wellington's, was killed as he tried to assist Lance Cpl Graham Shaw, from Huddersfield, who was killed by a blast moments earlier.

Cpl Riley, from Killarmarsh near Sheffield, worked alongside Prince Harry during training in Canada.

Stuart Gendall, from the Royal British Legion, who attended the national Remembrance Day service in London, said: "Every year at this time we take time out for silent reflection on the sacrifices that have been made on our behalf and hope for a more peaceful future.

"Today we're still in a conflict and seeing more people make the ultimate sacrifice. But it brings us together, it's non-political, all faiths are here and it allows us to remember those who have gone."

ROYAL VISIT WILL MEAN A LOT SAYS SOLDIER WHO LOST HIS LEGS IN BLAST

A BOMB disposal expert who lost both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan praised Prince William for visiting Helmand Province.

Ken Bellringer, 38, from the Royal Logistic Corps, said the servicemen and women on operations in the country would have added "respect" for the royal for making the journey out to see them.

The Warrant Officer 2nd Class was part of a group of veterans who paraded past the Princess Royal at the conclusion of the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph in Whitehall and were applauded by the crowds.

Commenting on William's brief visit to Camp Bastion, Britain's main military base in Afghanistan, the wheelchair-bound soldier said: "That will mean a lot to the people that are serving out there.

"I was out there last year and for the people that came out to see us we always had a little bit of respect for them – to put themselves out and go to that theatre is important.

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The ammunition technician joined members of the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen's Association (Blesma), an organisation supporting serving and ex-members of the armed forces and their dependants, on motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters in the march-past.

The bomb disposal expert from Newark-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire said: "I don't see myself as anyone special.

"I don't think any soldier does – we're not footballers or pop stars.

"But when people clap you to show their appreciation it's very humbling and it's very much appreciated - it makes you feel good.

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He was injured and a friend killed in an explosion caused by an Improvised Explosive Device.

The soldier, who was trying to pull out a colleague from a muddy field when the homemade bomb went off, said: "I've been through the rehab but I've still got a lot of operations to go.

"From the second it happened the MoD rose to the challenge, from the guys who recovered from the shock of the blast to get me out of there, the heli- copter crew and even in Camp Bastion.

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"Everybody had to be on the top of their game and that's what saved me."

ARREST IN POPPY BURNING PROTEST

A MAN was arrested during a protest against the burning of poppies during the two minutes' silence on Armistice Day.

A demonstration was held outside the Jami Mosque

in Portsmouth, Hampshire, on Saturday, and about 100 protesters, including members of the English Defence League, gathered outside the mosque while a counter-demonstration was held by a group of peace protesters.

The man was arrested after angry exchanges took place between the two groups and fireworks were fired from the demonstrators into their opposers.

A grafitti poppy had also been painted on the mosque the day before.

The protest was a reaction to Islamic group Muslims Against Crusades burning poppies near Hyde Park, London, on Thursday, although the Portsmouth Islamic centre had no connection with the incident.