History was made in Halifax as German soldiers and delegates took part in the Remembrance Sunday service in Halifax.
A colour party representing soldiers from the German Ministry of Defence local garrison near Halifax’s twin town of Aachen were joined by a delegation representing the Lutheran Church, civic leaders, the German government and the German consulate.
In a poignant procession, German soldiers joined members of the Yorkshire Regiment, the Duke of Wellington Association and the Royal British Legion in Halifax’s 2014 Remembrance Day parade - 100 years since the outbreak of World War 1.
A service was held at the Cenotaph before a ceremony inside Halifax Minister where German LutheranBishop Jens-Peter Bentzin preached.
Speaking about the day he said: “It is very moving to be here with friends from the German delegation and the people of Halifax and Calderdale.
“The visit is still very emotional for the people of Calderdale.
“We are representing a country that instigated two terrible wars on this country but the people are stretching their hands out in friendship and its extraordinary.
“It is a once in a lifetime experience.
“People came up to me after the service and thanked me and the other visitors for being here. There is a feeling of importance about coming together because that will help bring us more peace.
“This is the first time we have come here to be part of the Remembrance service and it does feel we are writing history here.”
The project has received backing from the Royal British Legion, who say the inclusion of German soldiers within the parade is ‘long overdue’.
Reverend Canon Hilary Barber said it was a magnificent and historic week for Halifax and Aachen.
“The feedback from the German delegation has been amazing and they were really blown away by the warmth and hospitality they received from the Halifax and Yorkshire people. “The vice mayor of Aachen was particularly moved and the Lieutenant commander of the army said he had never witnessed a Remembrance service like it in his whole life.
“With it being the 100th anniversary of World War One, the people of Halifax can look back with pride and to think we invited our twin town of Aachen to come and participate in our service. I can’t think of a better more better way to have done it.”
Rev Barber said the service will also make it a lot easier for it to happen again.