A national two-minute silence led by His Majesty The King took place across the UK on 13 November as the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph took place to remember all those who have died in conflict since the First World War. King Charles III led Britain’s annual Remembrance Sunday service for the first time as monarch.
The King attended the service alongside Camilla, the Queen Consort and other members of the royal family at The Cenotaph in central London.
The King laid a new wreath at the Cenotaph, the design of which pays tribute to the wreath of his grandfather, King George VI, and Queen Elizabeth II.
Camilla viewed the moment from the balcony of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. A wreath was laid on her behalf for the first time.
The King and Queen Consort’s wreaths were accompanied by handwritten cards bearing their new cyphers.
A two-minute silence took place at 11am, wreaths were laid by Members of the Royal Family, senior politicians and faith representatives at the Cenotaph. Approximately 10,000 Royal British Legion veterans, representing 300 different Armed Forces and civilian organisations, took part in the March Past; they were joined by an estimated 10,000 members of the public who were in line Whitehall to watch the service.
Among those marching will be 100-year-old Second World War veterans and those who served in recent conflicts including in Afghanistan. 400 members of the South Atlantic Medal Association marched past the Cenotaph to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War. They were also joined by bereaved family members with the youngest marcher aged eight years old.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “This year more than ever, we are reminded of the huge debt of gratitude we owe those who lay down their lives to protect their country.
As we fall silent together on Remembrance Sunday, we will honour the memories of the men and women we have lost and pay tribute to the brave soldiers of Ukraine as they continue their fight for freedom.”
The Royal British Legion’s Director of Remembrance, Philippa Rawlinson said: “As we come together on Remembrance Sunday, we pay tribute to Her Late Majesty The Queen, The Royal British Legion’s Patron of 70 years and longest serving Commander-in-Chief of the British military. Her Late Majesty was dedicated to duty and epitomised the service and commitment shown by our Armed Forces community, thousands of who will march past the Cenotaph where she laid her wreath each year. Her Late Majesty’s deep bond with the military lives on with His Majesty The King and The Royal Family. Similar Royal British Legion ceremonies will be uniting communities across the nation in Remembrance and today is an opportunity for us all to take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices of all those who serve, past and present.”
India and UK commemorate fallen soldiers in World War 1
Marking 100 years since Armistice Day, the United Service Institution of India, supported by the British High Commission, is hosting a series of events over the weekend of the 11th November, to commemorate the contribution of the Indian Army to World War One.
India’s role in the War was significant - over 1.3 million Indian servicemen fought in theatres across Europe, the Middle East and East Africa, making the Indian contribution one of the largest in the Commonwealth and the most widespread. India also contributed over $20 billion in today’s money to the war effort, including 3.7 million tonnes of supplies and 170,000 animals.
To commemorate this massive contribution and to remember the sacrifice of all servicemen and women throughout the War, the United Service Institution of India (USI) and the British High Commission are jointly hosted the following events:
Friday, 9th November
Historical Seminar: “India and the Great War in Research, Memory and Commemoration - Indian contribution to WW1”. The event is supported by the UK National Army Museum and will feature guest academic speakers from India, UK, Canada and Australia.
Saturday 10th November
Sunset Music Concert by the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas and members of the Nottinghamshire Band of the Royal Engineers at the residence of Sir Dominic Asquith, British High Commissioner to India. Followed by an evening reception during which War Diaries from Indian Regiments that fought in World War 1 was presented by Tom Tugendhat MP, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee and former army officer, to the Indian Army.
Sunday 11th November
Multi-faith Service of Remembrance at Delhi War Cemetery.
Tugendhat said: “I’m privileged to be here in India for this important moment, and to have the opportunity to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the cause of freedom – including more than 74,000 men who did not return home to India. India’s remarkable contribution to the war effort must be recognised, because it changed the course of history.”
Squadron Leader Rana Chhinna, Secretary and Editor Centre for Armed Forces Historical Research of USI institute said: “It is a matter of great pride that the very significant Indian contribution to the war that changed the course of modern history is finally getting the recognition that it so richly deserves. The Indian soldier deserves an acknowledgement of his contribution, and a commemoration of his sacrifice, making clear his central place in history.
Our joint commemorative efforts with the United Kingdom are an act of Remembrance and Commemoration that highlights both our shared values, and our shared heritage.”
Defence Advisor to the British High Commission, Mark Goldsack, said: “Remembrance is our opportunity as a society to recognise the sacrifice made by all soldiers, on all our behalves, irrespective of their backgrounds. It is not about the politics of the conflict, it is about honouring the self-sacrifice of those who paid the ultimate price.
This is the culmination of a substantial four-year project to recognise and highlight India’s contribution to World War One. The High Commission has been working in association with the United Service Institution of India to arrange these events to mark the centenary of the Armistice.
As part of the commemorations, USI have chosen the marigold as a symbol of remembrance for India - selected for its prolific nature within India and its colour, saffron, which represents sacrifice.”
Hardy Sikh prayer book revived after 100 years to help personnel practice faith in the field
Waterproof and tearproof, the Nitnem Gutka (Sikh Daily Prayers) is designed to be used in modern tactical environments. Nitnem translates to Daily Routine, and the collection of Sikh meditations will allow Sikh personnel to practice their faith at 3 different times of the day, wherever they are and in any conditions.
There is a long tradition of Sikhs carrying their religious text with them into conflict. In World Wars 1 and 2, Sikhs made up 20% of the British Indian Army. Over 120,000 Sikhs died and many more were injured from the trenches in France to the Jungles of Burma, and records from the time show Sikh troops with their prayer books in the deserts of Egypt and Mesopotamia. Maj Daljinder Singh Virdee, who led the project, said: “I was inspired to undertake this initiative when I saw old images of Sikh soldiers conducting their prayers in uniform. It has been a two-year journey to get to this point but makes all the efforts worthwhile knowing that Sikhs in UK Defence no matter where they serve across the world in whatever conditions can connect to their faith and find spiritual support through this Nitnem Gutka, for generations to come”.