Ceremonies to mark Remembrance Sunday have taken place across the UK this weekend with military personnel gathering to commemorate and remember their colleagues, friends and forbears.
At the Cenotaph in London, thousands gathered for the National Service of Remembrance in Whitehall which was closed to the public last year due to COVID restrictions. This year, hundreds of servicemen and women took part in the service and almost 10,000 veterans participated in the march past. His Royal Highness Prince William took the salute on Horse Guards Parade alongside Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Lt Gen (Ret’d) James Bashall CBE, who served as Commander Home Command from 2015 to 2018 and is now President of the Royal British Legion.
In York, 2 Signal Regiment joined forces with the 4th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment and the Queen’s Own Yeomanry to observe a silence at Memorial Gardens. The Hull equivalent, culminating at the Cenotaph, involved 150 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps marching alongside 299 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers and 250 Squadron Royal Army Medical Corps. This comes after the Infantry Training Centre (ITC) in Catterick held its own ceremony within Vimy Barracks on Armistice Day, where recruits and permanent staff reflected on the sacrifices of those who went before them.
At a service at Blackburn Cathedral, the Duke of Lancaster's Band and the Greater Manchester Police Male Voice Choir performed, interspersed with films highlighting the work of the Armed Forces in supporting the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and their role in evacuating British nationals and eligible Afghans following the Taliban offensive this summer, as well as the veterans of Broughton House in Greater Manchester sharing their experiences. Additionally, The Lamps are Going Out, a creative arts project exploring the stories and contributions of service animals awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal for Gallantry were showcased.
In Scotland, crowds gathered in Glasgow’s George Square and at the City Chambers in Edinburgh. Maj Gen Bill Wright CBE, General Officer Scotland, and Brig Ben Wrench, Commander 51st Infantry Brigade & Army HQ Scotland lay wreaths in tribute while soldiers from 16 Air Assault Brigade held a service and parade in Colchester, with youth groups and veterans also marching. Paratroopers from 2nd and 3rd Battalions The Parachute Regiment had only just returned from a live firing tactical exercise on Salisbury Plain earlier in the week, where they held a Service in the Field on Armistice Day to remember the fallen. Colchester Garrison Lt Col Ed Rankin said, “It is a huge privilege to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Colchester to mark this day and as a demonstration of the strong bonds between the town’s military and civilian communities.”
And overseas on operations, personnel took time out to reflect in Mali, Oman and many other locations. Remembrance Sunday is a chance for our soldiers to remember the service of the generations that have gone before, and to honour the sacrifice and commitment of all those who defend our freedom.