DUDLEY'S annual Remembrance Sunday parade and service has been described as a "complete shambles" by one disgruntled veteran.

Thousands of people turned up to pay their respects to the fallen at the Dudley Council led event, including Jacek Kieras, who served with the Army Catering Corps for 12 years.

The 67-year-old told the News that he was disappointed that veterans were not placed at the front of the parade - which started at Top Church and went through the town centre to the cenotaph in Coronation Gardens - as they had been in previous years.

Mr Kieras said that the seating arrangements for the service in Ednam Road was "very haphazard", adding: "The wreath bearers should have been near the front but they were all over the place.

"When the service started, we thought 'this is a bit early', then at 10.50am they did the Last Post and two minute silence when it should have been at 11am. It was a complete shambles.

"In previous years it has been perfect, everything has been done at the right time and we've been marshalled to seats with wreath bearers at the front.

"But you have to make the best of a bad thing, that's the military all round - if you're faced with adversity, you overcome it but I do hope next year will be improved."

Councillor Dave Tyler, the Mayor of Dudley, said: “Thousands of people turned out in Dudley to pay their respects to those who gave their lives in war so we can enjoy the freedoms we do today.

“Remembrance Sunday is, and will always be, one of the council’s most important civic events and we strive to put on a service that is befitting of the sacrifice those brave soldiers made.

“This year the event did run slightly ahead of schedule and the Last Post was early, although silence and the paying of respects through wreath laying did continue past 11am."

Cllr Tyler said that the parade marshal, from the Royal Yeomanry Regiment, had followed the national service format in relation to the ordering of the parade and added: “As with any event or service we put on, we will look at the feedback we have received when it comes to planning for next year and the future.

“I would personally like to thank everyone who turned out.

“It showed very strongly – in Dudley, as a town and as a borough - we will remember them.”