WAR veterans were among hundreds at the Ealing Green memorial service for the nation’s war dead on Remembrance Sunday.

Ex-servicemen and women joined borough dignitaries, the Royal British Legion, serving soldiers and Ealing scouts to march from Uxbridge Road to Pitshanger Manor.

The town centre echoed to the sound of bagpipes played by the Balmoral Highlanders as the procession made its way to the war memorial.

War hero Henry Smith, 73, who fought in Borneo, Suez and the Falklands, said: “I grew up in World War Two, so it is so important for me to honour all those who lost their lives there.

“Next year will be 30 years since the Falklands, where I fought, and I expect that to be even more special.”

Big Ben’s chimes were relayed to the crowds at 11am as Ealing Green hushed for the two minutes silence.

The Mayor of Ealing, Cllr John Gallagher, laid the first wreath of poppies at the memorial, where 1,000 names are engraved.

Wreaths from 24 associations followed, including the Metr Police and Ealing Ex-Servicemen’s.

The Rev Liz Moody, of St Christopher’s Church in Hanwell, gave the blessing and called for the people of Ealing to remember those who had lost their lives in conflict.

As the parade marched away, people lined the streets to applaud the veterans.

Cpl Brian Clark, of the Southall-based 562 Transport Squadron RLC, said: “We come together for this. There’s a bond here between all of us from the regiment.”

Tributes also came from the Gurkha Veterans’ Association who played Nepalese Pancha Baja music, using nine instruments usually reserved for celebrations like weddings.

Veteran Gurkha Monty Shrestha, who also owns a local restaurant, has commemorated fallen servicemen and women in Ealing for 15 years.

He said: “We are here because of friendship, to show hands. Friends need to know we are there for them.”

Gatherings were also held at the Polish War Memorial in South Ruislip and at St John’s Church, Southall.

A Poppy Appeal has gone viral on Facebook. Profile pictures can be photo-shopped to display poppies in support of the armed forces.

Felicity Bingham, a 23-year-old Ealing resident, is leading the social media effort.

Her employer, advertising company CST The Gate, and the Royal British Legion have developed the social media campaign called Shoulder To Shoulder.

It supports those who have served or who are currently serving in the Armed Forces and their dependants.

Miss Bingham said: “We’re really proud to be working with The Royal British Legion.

“It is our way of giving a little something back to all those who fought and continue to fight for our lives.”

Visit http://www.shouldertoshoulder.org.uk/