UK honours the fallen in silent tribute on Armistice Day

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UK honours the fallen in silent tribute on Armistice Day
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The nation has fallen silent to honour those who lost their lives in conflict.

A two-minute silence took place across the country at 11am, marking 102 years since the first two-minute silence was observed on Armistice Day, November 11 1919.

The Duchess of Cornwall was at the 93rd Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey, which has been held in the grounds of the Abbey since November 1928.

Camilla laid a cross as she honoured the servicemen and women who sacrificed their lives for their country.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted a remembrance message

In Staffordshire, a service of remembrance took place at the National Memorial Arboretum on top of the Armed Forces Memorial, featuring readings, musical performances and wreath laying.

A single gun fired at 11am from Edinburgh Castle, while local government officials from the city were expected to join members of the Armed Forces for a wreath laying ceremony at the Scott Monument.

The two-minute silence was also marked at the Scottish Parliament and by COP26 President Alok Sharma at the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow.

The service at Westminster Abbey attended by Camilla, who is patron of the poppy factory, was attended by hundreds of veterans, after last year’s event was drastically scaled back due to the pandemic.

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

The Duchess was greeted by the dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, Surgeon Rear Admiral Lionel Jarvis, president of the poppy factory and Alistair Kett, the factory’s chairman of board of trustees, who escorted her throughout the service.

Camilla chatted to some of the abbey’s clergy, wearing a bottle green Rifles coat by Fiona Clare and her Rifles brooch, the regiment of which she is now colonel, having taken on the role from the Duke of Edinburgh last year.

Shortly before 11am, after solemnly bowing her head in front of two wooden crosses from the graves of unknown British soldiers from the First and Second World Wars as the dean said prayers, Camilla then laid a small wooden cross of remembrance on a large cross made up of poppies.

On Tuesday, the duchess had visited the poppy factory site in Richmond, to put the finishing touches to her wooden cross.

The Last Post was then played by a trumpeter from the roof of the abbey, followed by the “exhortation to remembrance” before Big Ben’s chimes sounded at 11am, signalling the national two-minute silence, which ended with the trumpeter’s Reveille.

 (PA)
(PA)

The duchess then spent time viewing several memorial plots for regimental and other associations, meeting veterans and representatives from the Armed Forces including the Rifles, the Submariners Association, the RAF Association and the The Royal Lancers, the regiment of her late father, Major Bruce Shand.

This year’s field comprises more than 300 plots planted with 70,000 Remembrance symbols. It was the second time Camilla visited the field of remembrance, having attended the opening ceremony last year, when no veterans or invited guests were able to attend.

Camilla stopped to chat to Lt Colonel James Gaselee, the former commanding officer of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, whose father, Nick Gaselee, a former national hunt trainer who trained Party Politics to win the grand national in 1997, and also trained the Prince of Wales to be a jockey in his youth.

She also spoke to Alice Wingate, the granddaughter of Major General Orde Wingate, who started the Chindits who operated behind Japanese lines in Burma during the Second World War. “It’s very good to see you here today,” Camilla told her.

 (PA)
(PA)

The duchess also stopped to chat with Chelsea Pensioner, Fred Bolwell, 92, who served with the Royal Tank Regiment for 24 years and Major Hugo White, 91, of the Somerset Light Infantry who served in Malaya, Jordan, Cyprus and Northern Ireland.

After making her way through both sides of the field lined with veterans, accompanied by Major Jonny Thompson, the Prince of Wales’s equerry, in a poignant nod to a tradition established by the Duke of Edinburgh on occasions like today when the Field of Remembrance event fell on Armistice Day, the duchess visited the grave of the unknown warrior inside the abbey, where she laid a symbolic bouquet of flowers on the grave in remembrance.

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