Injured servicemen to lay wreaths at Cenotaph

James Chittenden (red blazer) and Ted Johnson (blue blazer), going to Veterans Parade at the Cenotaph
James Chittenden (red blazer) and Ted Johnson (blue blazer), going to Veterans Parade at the Cenotaph

A VETERAN serviceman who lost his right leg when his vehicle hit a landmine will be part of a parade at London’s Cenotaph on Sunday.

Ted Johnson, 72, will take part in the Parade of Veterans march at the annual National Service of Remembrance.

He will be joined by fellow James Chittenden, 88, also of Milton Keynes.

The pair will represent the British Limbless Ex Service Men’s Association’s (BLESMA) party of injured veterans, and will lay wreaths of poppies along with other war veterans.

BLESMA was formed in the years following the First World War but became a national charity in 1932. Today BLESMA’s 3,700 members consist of ex-servicemen who have lost limbs, eyesight, or the use of limbs while in service since the Second World War.

Mr Chittenden, who has two replacement knees and whose medals include France’s highest honour, the légion d’honneur, said: “BLESMA really look after their members. We will all meet in a hotel in Middlesex on Saturday night, where we will have a meeting and a meal. The next day we are taken to the Cenotaph where we take part in the parade, before we come back to the hotel for a lunch before going our separate ways.”

Mr Johnson, who lost his right leg below the knee after his vehicle hit a landmine in Cyprus in 1958, added: “BLESMA events are a great way for us all to get together in one place. We have a big array of activities our members can get involved in. We even have our own AirKix team that use the Milton Keynes facility.”

Jerome Church, BLESMA’s general secretary, said: “Remembrance Sunday is important for BLESMA as we remember those who have died in the service of our country.

But we also remember those who have made a different sacrifice and who live with the consequences of the battlefield everyday, those amongst our membership who have lost limbs or their eyesight but who ‘soldier on’ regardless.”