Nation falls silent to mark Armistice Day

The nation fell silent to remember the war dead on the warmest Armistice Day on record.

Poignant services were held across the country on the anniversary of the end of the First World War and a two-minute silence was observed at 11am to remember those who have died in military conflicts.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester attended the National Memorial Arboretum Armistice Day Service in Staffordshire and services were held in London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Portsmouth.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who said Russia had “shattered” peace by waging war in Ukraine, was in Paris to attend a remembrance service hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer joined veterans and railway staff outside Euston station, in central London, to mark the sombre moment.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer marked the moment outside Euston Station, London (James Manning/PA)
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer marked the moment outside Euston Station, London (James Manning/PA)

Salvation Army Captain Michael Kinnear played the Last Post before a two-minute silence was observed.

Leading a prayer for those who gave their lives defending Britain’s shores, Euston station railway chaplain Stephen Rowe said: “May we never forget the bravery and sacrifice, in the face of fearsome odds, the young and old who gave all, and the victories they won for our liberty.”

In Edinburgh, the service was originally meant to take place at Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, but Edinburgh City Council made the decision to close the gardens due to the danger from the high winds.

Legion Scotland, who managed the event, moved the service to Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory, where a smaller service went ahead with veterans who worked in the factory and others from all around Scotland.

At 11am, the One O’Clock Gun fired from Edinburgh Castle.

A piper plays during an Armistice Day service at Poppyscotland’s Lady Haig Poppy Factory in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)
A piper plays during an Armistice Day service at Poppyscotland’s Lady Haig Poppy Factory in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

In Belfast, Royal British Legion president Philip Morrison presided at the short commemoration at the Cenotaph, which was also attended by Sinn Fein Lord Mayor Tina Black.

Ms Black’s presence at the event was in keeping with recent Sinn Fein mayors of Belfast.

And at Alrewas, near Lichfield, Staffordshire, the service was followed by hundreds of thousands of junior school children who watched over a live stream as part of the Remembrance Live Assembly project, to teach youngsters about why the nation remembers all those who have died in service.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tweeted: “Today and forever, we will remember them.”

Earlier, Mr Cleverly said: “Since 1918 we have marked Armistice Day and paid tribute to the brave men and women who have served to give us peace.

“Yet as we salute our troops this year, this peace has been shattered by a Russian aggressor.

“As we honour the war dead of the past, we also remember Ukraine’s fight for freedom today.

“The UK stands steadfast with our friends and allies in defence of freedom and democracy in Ukraine and I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with an historic ally in Paris today.”

The Met Office said there were “exceptionally mild” conditions across the UK, provisionally confirming that the previous record of 17.8 Celsius set in 1954 and 1977 had been broken on Friday.

Myerscough in Lancashire enjoyed a high of 19.5C and weekend temperatures are forecast to hit 20C.