Armistice Day 2017 in England will hold a special place in the heart of Dannevirke's Roly Ellis after he delivered a poignant speech at the Cookham Dean cenotaph.

Mr Ellis, the former Tararua District mayor and past president of the Dannevirke and Districts RSA, said the Cookham Dean memorial cenotaph in Maidenhead is dear to his heart.

"It has a very special meaning and relevance. My uncle Roly Ellis' name is inscribed on it," he said. "He lost his life in September 1944 at St Anthonis in Holland. He was serving in a tank regiment which I later served with as a regular and a territorial officer for 24 years.

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"My father was only 20 miles away in a different regiment when his brother was killed and he formed a long-lasting relationship with the town mayor, so much so that uncle Roly and three others were buried in the local churchyard rather than a military cemetery.

"This relationship still exists and in September 2019, I will be presenting uncle Roly's medals to the mayor of the town, on the 75th anniversary."

Mr Ellis said it was a privilege to be speaking in the village where he and his sisters were born and lived for many years.

"Just recently we laid our mother to rest with our grandfather and father under the Redwood tree," he said.

"I can remember standing next to my highly medalled father on many remembrance days as a youngster, not quite realising what the day was all about.

"Nowadays with the 100-year centenary of World War 1 declared three years ago and the centenary of Armistice Day next year, schools teach this generation so much more of the horrors those soldiers, sailors and airmen went through. Not only those who were killed but also the many mentally scarred by war."

In his speech Mr Ellis reminded people about the far-flung places British military personnel have served and the strong relationship to New Zealand.

"They've served from World War 1 and 2, Korea, Malaya, Borneo, the Middle East, Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan, along with many peace keeping situations in Northern Ireland and Cyprus.

"New Zealand, where I have lived for the last 25 years, with many other Commonwealth countries, has come to the aid of Britain on many occasions and has suffered very large losses of life," he said.

"In 1916, 8000 men left New Zealand with more than 500 horses and sailed for Egypt taking three weeks to get there, before setting sail again for Gallipoli on the Turkish Peninsula, to help British and Australian troops.

"Landing at Gallipoli on April 25 they lost some 2500 men in both searing heat, then freezing and mud filled trenches before evacuating in the December. Another 4000 were wounded."

Speaking at the Armistice Day service Mr Ellis asked those present to remember all those from the Commonwealth who had served overseas alongside British military personnel.

"Although having served myself in a British Regiment, 15/19th The King's Royal Hussars, I would like you to not only remember all those British people who gave their lives for your freedom today, but all those many Commonwealth men and women from the navy, army and air force who did so as well," he said.

"There are two immortal inscriptions on many cenotaphs around the world which speak so much of why we should be standing in quiet reflection here today. The first is Lest we Forget and the second, We will remember them.

"I never met my uncle Roly but I will always remember him."