Sombre observers both young and old spoke in hushed tones as they congreagated around war memorials to observe two minutes of silence, 100 years since the outbreak of World War I.
In Leeds a procession of ex-servicemen and women, and members of various service organisations, marched into Victoria Gardens in front of Leeds Art Gallery.
In addition to the civic dignitaries laying wreaths at the city centre war memorial on behalf of the people of Leeds were local families whose lives have been shattered by the loss of loved ones who have bravely gone into battle and not returned.
Jordan Adams, stepbrother of Signaller Wayne Bland, killed in Afghanistan in 2008 aged 21, said he felt proud to be able to publicly honour his memory.
The 17-year-old, who was accompanied by his mum Maureen and other family members, said: “He died defending his country and if it wasn’t for the likes of him we wouldn’t be living in peace like we are today.”
John Reading, a former Bombardier with the Royal Artillery, Army Air Corps, bore the medals of both his father and uncle as well as his own General Service Medal.
His daughter Patricia said: “It shows the appreciation and respect that so much has been given just so we could have our freedom – and we need to value it.”
Yesterday’s service was all the more poignant as this year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One, 70 years since the D-Day landings and the end of Britain’s conflict in Afghanistan.
But it was clear from the number of children and teenagers tearfully looking on, that those killed and injured in more recent conflicts are equally in people’s thoughts.
Among those paying their respects was William Ramsay, whose great-grandson Harvey Roberts proudly wore his medals and those of his great-great-grandfather.
Steve and Angela Robinson, from Temple Newsam, laid a wreath for their son, Rifleman Ross Robinson, who died in a road accident on April 29, 2010. He had been discharged from a military rehabilitation centre just the day before.
There were poignant scenes too in Halifax where German soldiers from The Lancers School Aachen joined soldiers from the Yorkshire regiment to parade. The German town is twinned with Halifax and as a result Major David Claydon of 1st Bat Yorkshire Regiment stood shoulder to shoulder with Lieutenant Colonel Hans Domas from the Lancers School.
In Sheffield, Barker’s Pool saw a huge crowd gather to respectfully applaud the bravery of hundreds of past and present military personnel as they marched in and out.