Commonwealth Day Commemorations in UK

Commonwealth Day 2022 has been marked with events and services across the UK, with a special focus on the role service plays in the lives of people and communities across the Commonwealth.

In London, the day started with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Commonwealth Memorial Gates which were inaugurated by the Queen in 2002. Representatives from across the Commonwealth gathered to pay tribute to the 5 million servicemen and women who were in the Armed Forces during the First and Second World Wars. The event was supported by the Band of the Coldstream Guards and a Piper from 1st Battalion The Scots Guards. Commonwealth Day was also commemorated by the Band of the Scots Guards and the Commonwealth Youth Choir who performed a number of specially composed pieces on Horse Guards Parade, with the Commonwealth Flag flying alongside the Union Flag in the background. Britain’s largest annual inter-faith gathering has also been held at Westminster Abbey and attended by members of the Royal Family and over 2,000 Commonwealth High Commissioners, Ambassadors, faith leaders and guests, supported by State Trumpeters from The Band of The Household Cavalry and Fanfare Trumpeters from the Band of the Welsh Guards.

 In Hampshire, the Air Defence Royal Artillery Regiments showcased the rich seam of diversity which courses through their ranks during a day of reflection on what Commonwealth Day means to each soldier. Of the 54 countries that make up today’s Commonwealth of Nations, 10 were represented by troops who have joined the two Regiments from as far afield as the South Pacific Islands, the Caribbean and pan Africa. Staff Sergeant Collins Gyamfi from Ghana organised the event, with each nation represented demonstrating their national dress, culture and music.

 In Colchester, airborne medics from 16 Medical Regiment held a cultural day to build troops’ understanding of each other’s home countries. Soldiers gave talks about their culture, food and traditions. Organiser Sergeant Chrissy Hawkins, an operating department practitioner, said: “I have dual nationality and am proud to be both Belizean and to serve in the British Army. Today is about taking a pause from our busy working routine to recognise the different countries and backgrounds we come from and educate all of us about each other. The more we understand about the people in the team, where they come from and the culture and experiences that have shaped them, the better we can all work together.”

 And in Catterick The 4th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (4 SCOTS) held a special event earlier this month to highlight the different cultures within the unit and foster a common understanding. The unit set up stands representing each of the 19 nationalities that it proudly hosts within its ranks. Captain Taylor, who is in charge of diversity and inclusion within 4 SCOTS, said: “Inclusion is the way to build a stronger team. To enhance knowledge and understanding of everyone’s heritage means we can be more effective.”