David Dimbleby and Sophie Raworth present as Her Majesty the Queen leads the nation's Remembrance Sunday commemorations from the Cenotaph in Whitehall.
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Good morning from the heart of London on a bright, sunny morning.
Yesterday's rain has cleared away and we can see the whole skyline
from the new Shard on the far-right there, the River Thames, the London
Eye on the left. The plain trees are still out in early autumn. The sun
is shining on the Palace of Westminster, Big Ben just behind the
square tower. Across to Westminster Abbey on the left of the picture.
Between those two great buildings is Parliament Square and Whitehall. You
can just glimpse the little white shape of the Cenotaph in this end of
Whitehall where today's ceremonial is focussed. At the moment, the
preparations are still going on for the beginning of the ceremony, on
the Great Parade Ground of Horse Guards, over 10,000 men and women
have been assembling for the last two hours, veterans from all the
services, some in uniform with their medals newly polished, proudly worn
on their chests. Others with bowler hats and umbrellas. All of them
people who have been involved either directly in the war or are
descendants of people killed in World War One and World War Two.
This morning each year, as close to November 11th as can be, is a great
moment not just for the nation to remember, but for these people to
remember, to meet with their old comrades. On Whitehall, the bands
have been taking their place. And the Hollow Square which surrounds
the Cenotaph is assembling. Then great crowds which have been here
since early, too. All people come to listen to music played year after
year. At the heart of this extraordinary event is silence. The
first silence took place in November 1919. An observer said, "Nothing
under heaven is so full of awe as the complete silence of a mighty
crowd." Here and across the country, ever since 1919, that silence has
been observed. It was suggested originally to the War Cabinet by a
father whose son had been killed in France. Each year since operations
began in Afghanistan, a similar service of commemoration has been
held in the desert fortress of Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, the
headquarters of the British and Commonwealth forces fighting there.
This time next year, the plan, of course, is to have most of those men
and women withdrawn. But until then, they continue to operate in a
dangerous and unpredictable theatre of war. This morning, they gathered
to remember the 446 killed here in the last 11 years.
After the Last Post sounded, the Duke of York led the mourners laying
a wreath here. He had been here before in the summer at Camp
Bastion. Here in London, those who died and
were wounded in Afghanistan will be among the many thousands - and
millions of dead remembered this morning. There are many veterans
here and this morning Sophie Raworth is going to be talking to some of
them, people who either are serving or did serve as members of the armed
forces. I'm here in Whitehall with Colonel Matt Jackson, the commanding
officer for 40 Commando Royal Marines until recently. This is your
first time here at the Cenotaph. This time last year, you were in
Afghanistan. What was that like? We were standing in a dusty place
conducting a private service for all the people that were at the camp. An
intensely personal and emotional event to take place in Afghanistan.
Very different to what goes on here today? Absolutely. At this time last
year, the Commando Group had taken four fatalities at that point. So it
was an incredibly poignant moment. Once that service is open, they all
go back to work? They do. At 11.00am, what will you, who will you
be thinking of when Big Ben strikes? I always think about those families
who have been most recently bereaved. So I will be thinking
about WO2 Fishermeadly. -- WO2 Fisher immediately. Here with us as
well is Colonel Mike Brooke. You are the Parade Commander here today. You
come back year after year. What brings you back? I come back to, in
quite a silent way, to commemorate all the sacrifice that Royal
Engineers Bomb Disposal have contributed over the years. On this
lovely sunny day, we should perhaps remember that in 1940, during the
Blitz, there were 20,000 bomb disposal engineers working hard to
defuse 24,000 unexploded bombs and 235 paid the terrible price with
their life. So we owe a lot, I think, to those who have gone
before. It is a great tribute with my colleagues and friends to come
here and pay that silent tribute as we go past the memorial. What is it
like, as you pass the Cenotaph, and also during the two minutes'
silence, what is it like for you for people around us here now? I bring
myself up-to-date in a way. I think of those in Afghanistan, since that
campaign, 22 explosive ordnance operators from the Royal Engineers,
the Royal Navy, who have paid a terrible price to make that country
safer and give the Afghan people a chance now to have agriculture and
education. I am hopeful for them and I try and have a hopeful, positive
twist as well as remembering those who have gone before. Colonel Matt
Jackson, looking around you now, the faces, the history, the stories, it
is extraordinary, isn't it? It is. The crowds here. As we were setting
up at 7.00am, people were coming out to be a part of this amazing event.
Thank you both very much. Today is a reminder of the scale of
slaughter and the sacrifice in war. The First World War in particular,
where these ceremonies here date from, cut like a scythe through a
whole generation. There was barely a family that had escaped death or
injury of either family member or friend. But some families seem to
have had far more than their own fair share of sorrow. At the
Imperial War Museum, Robin Scott Elliot discovered how a generation
of his family was wiped out. He began with his great-grandfather
Bertie killed in 1918. My great grandfather, Bertie
Anderson, received the Victoria Cross for what he did on that day.
He never saw this medal, or never knew of the award. But it is a link
to him, a symbol by which he can be remembered as a young man who did an
extraordinary thing at an extraordinary time and a way of
remembering him. Bertie came from a prosperous Glasgow family. Willie
and Nora Anderson had four sons Bertie, Ronnie, Charlie and the baby
of the family, Teddie. Charlie was the first of the boys to go to war.
He was the second youngest and he was actually a professional soldier.
Generally, there was to begin with an eagerness about going to war.
This is what they had been training for, they were looking forward to
it. When he got to France, he wrote a letter home to his mother Nora
that said, "So glad we are all going to be in this together." After just
eight days in the trenches, he was declared missing in action. Nora had
to wait eight months till his death was officially confirmed. Eight
months of just clinging to some sort of hope that he may be alive. Even
when that official confirmation came, you still knew that you
couldn't have your children home to bury them. Ronnie, Charlie's older
brother, felt his duty was to replace Charlie. He too was sent to
France. Ronnie was seen as being a wee bit scatty. He knew this himself
because he wrote a letter back to Nora when he was in the trenches in
1915 that said, "If I get killed, don't say 'So like Ron's careless
way.'" Ronnie's words tragically came true. A month later, he was
shot dead, picked off by a German sniper. Nora had lost two sons
within the space of a year. She made an album of her family and if you
flick through it, there's picture after picture of Teddie, the
youngest. There are few of Bertie, the eldest. But there is very little
in there of Charlie or Ronnie. Perhaps that is the way she found to
try and cope with it all by trying to bury the memory of what she had
lost. Teddie joined up straight from school. You look at all the pictures
of him. He is full of boyish enthusiasm, there is a zest for life
that is obvious there. Teddie loved flying, clearly. He used to write
long letters home to his mother and father. He describes one particular
raid that they went on before the Battle of the Somme to shoot down
some German observation balloons. And he talks about how when they
flew home afterwards his plane was shot at by the anti aircraft guns,
but he said he felt so bucked by it that he sang lustily the whole way
home. Teddie survived his six-month tour at the Front, returning to
become a flying instructor in Hampshire. He was killed in a
training accident aged just 21. Eight days later, Nora's eldest son,
Bertie, was also killed in France. She had now lost all four of her
children to the war. A cousin of Nora's wrote this - which I think
sums up the tragedy of the Anderson family, but also the grief that must
have affected so many families across the country. "Their loved
ones will never again hear the sound of their returning feet. No more
merry meals around the family table. No more letters to write, no more
letters to wait for." Back here in the heart of London at
Whitehall, the so-called Hollow Square that surrounds the Cenotaph
is assembling. Women at War Memorial there. This Hollow Square was
originally a military formation, the Life Guards, the Household Cavalry
standing in their scarlet cloaks. Next to them the King's Troop of the
Royal Horse Artillery, a detachment of the King's Troop will fire a gun
to mark the start and end of the two minutes' silence. Then, to their
left, the Welsh Guards of the Guards Division. Beside them, The Royal
Gurkha Rifles 2nd Battalion. Facing them on the other side, the Merchant
Marine, and then a detachment from the Royal Navy itself.
The Civilian Services are represented here, too. They stand
next to the Army Reserves. Among them, the police, Prison Officers,
fire and ambulance. So there is, by design, a representation of all the
forces needed in war, both civilian and military. The Royal Air Force,
in front of them the Regimental Sergeant Major of the bands waiting,
in a moment, to play us the traditional music, which has never
changed, and which begins with Rule Britannia. The Massed Bands are
under the command of the Senior Director of Music, Lieutenant
Colonel Barnwell. The Pipes and Drums and then behind them the Royal
Marine Band and the Royal Air Force Band. And all take their part in
playing this majestic music. The band now play Heart Of Oak, then
The Minstrel Boy and Men of Harlech. It is striking, though I suppose not
surprising, how those who fought together formed bonds which do last
down the years. We have seen that today on horse guards and we will
see that during the march passed the Cenotaph. They know that what they
went through was something which outsiders cannot share. This bond
crosses generations. Colonel Matt Jackson, who was talking to Sophie,
went to meet a fellow Royal Marine, a veteran of the Second World War
and the Normandy invasion, John Brunel-Cohen.
I thought you might to have a look at my orders, the only top-secret
document I own. And the only one I have seen of this age. It is good to
hold an historical document that is so well preserved. The last
paragraph reads, it is desirable to proceed in an orderly fashion, but
it is far more important to get a move on and get their, underlined.
On D-day, what were the conditions like on the cross in itself?
Terrible, very bad. Extremely wet and extremely uncomfortable. They
were open boats so we were wet from the very first moment. In fact, we
were wet for weeks. When you got to the beach itself, what was life like
there? There were a lot of snipers, enemy snipers about still. Seeing a
lot of German prisoners of war. That was good for our morale. What does
remembrance day at the Cenotaph mean to you? It means an enormous amount
to me. I am in a unique position. On the first day of the third Battle of
Ypres, my father was wounded, lost his legs and was in a wheelchair for
42 years. My father was at the head of the first parade at the Senate
half and it is extremely emotive marching through the streets of
London being applauded by the public 15 deep in many places. The
important thing is not to be placed between two bands because it is
difficult to march to two bands at the same time.
John Brunel-Cohen's father was a founding member of the Not Forgotten
Association, a charity which supports injured and ex-serving men
and women. It is with that organisation that John Brunel-Cohen
is parading today. Now the Skye Boat Song.
Massed Bands, turn! The Massed Bands now play I'll of
BT. Just one of the many people being
mourned today is Lieutenant Daniel Clack, who was killed at the age of
24. Daniel, from other's point of view was the perfect son. His
wardrobe would be the bedroom floor he was a typical teenage and early
20-year-old son, the fairies will come and pick that up and put that
away. None of our family is in the Army. Where it came from, it was
just born in him. He never saw himself as anything other than
basically a soldier, who would be out there putting his life at risk,
really. After Sandhurst military academy, Daniel joined the 1st
Battalion the Rifles as a platoon commander and was immediately
deployed to Afghanistan. There were three villages close to Dan's
checkpoint and they would patrol around that area every day. He was
trying to learn some of the local dialect. Although they had
interpreters, anything where they could learn and speak to the locals
was really good. On the 12th of August 2011, Daniel was out on a
routine foot patrol when he was killed by an improvised explosive
device. His men carried him onto the plane, which I think was extremely
difficult for them. They had to walk away and get on with their job KERS
they knew that was what and would have wanted. -- they knew that was
what Daniel would have wanted. The cortege bearing the coffin was
driven through the town of Royal Wootton Bassett. There were hundreds
of people there. It is about 40 miles from there to the Radcliffe
Hospital in Oxford. In every lay-by, at every roundabout, there were
people. It was really incredible. Hundreds and hundreds of people who
we did not know and they had been standing all afternoon in the
pouring rain, just waiting to pay their 's. -- just waiting to pay
there. I had made a memory box of
photographs of him as a child, the sport photographs, the silly
photographs and then I left three sections empty which would have been
the wedding photographs, family or whatever. It is very sad to look at
that box and see those empty sections. It will be the times when
his cousins get married, when friends get married, when they start
taking that next step forward and you can't help but think, that
should have been down. -- Daniel. Daniel's mother is joining the march
past here today with the rifles Regiment Association in memory of
her son. The pipes play the Flowers of the
Forest. The Flowers of the Forest are all withered away. It is a
moment perhaps to remember those who have fallen since last Remembrance
Sunday a year ago. Next, the unchanged order of music.
The Massed Bands play Edward Elgar's Enigma variations, Nimrod.
Nimrod is followed by Dido's Lament by Henry Purcell - When I Am Laid In
Earth. For those who have not experienced it directly, poetry has
often most brilliantly illuminated the nature of war. The Reverend
Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy was an Army chaplain in World War One. He
risked his life going into no man's land to comfort wounded soldiers.
Known affectionately as "Woodbine Willie" for the seemingly endless
supply of cigarettes he gave to troops, he was also a published poet
and after the War, wrote If Ye Forget.
Let me forget! Let me forget!
I am weary of remembrance. And my brow is ever wet.
With tears of my remembrance. With the tears and bloody sweat.
Let me forget. If ye forget - if ye forget.
Then your children must remember. And their brow be ever wet.
With the tears of their remembrance. With the tears and bloody sweat.
If ye forget. The Crossbearer, Johan de Silva,
leads the Children and Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal on to Whitehall.
Ten children and six Gentlemen-in-Ordinary, the Serjeant
of the Vestry, Chaplain of the Fleet, the sub dene of Her Majesty's
Chapel Royal and at the rear, the Dean of Her Majesty's Chapel Royal,
the Bishop of London, the Right Reverend Right Honourable Dr
Richard Chartres. He is followed by Major-General Edward Smyth-Osbourne
CBE. He is in command of the Armed Services on parade here. He comes
out with his Chief of Staff and his Aide-de-Camp. He will be followed by
the procession of the politicians, who will be laying wreaths. Among
the politicians here today, former Prime Ministers, Sir John Major,
Tony Blair, and Gordon Brown are expected.
David Cameron, Nick Clegg on his right, the Prime Minister and Deputy
Prime Minister. The Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband.
Now, the Chiefs of Staff, Chief of the Defence Staff, the First Sea
Lord, Chief of the General Staff, the Air Staff and behind them
representatives from the Merchant Navy, the Chief Inspector of
Constabulary and then the long line of High Commissioners of 46
different Commonwealth countries. They take up position on three sides
of the Cenotaph. They will be followed by 14 representatives of
different religious denominations. So everyone will be in place for
members of the Royal Family to come out and for the silence itself in
three minutes' time. The Roman Catholic, the Right Reverend Richard
Moth, the Free Churches, the Buddhist Faith, Muslim Council, the
United Reform Church, Hindu Temples, the Salvation Army and the Greek
Orthodox Church are all there. There's the line of the politicians.
On the far left, George Osborne, the Chancellor, who is standing in for
William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, carrying that special
wreath laid on behalf of the dependencies. Boris Johnson, the
Mayor of London in the third row behind him.
From the balcony up there, other members of the Royal Family will be
watching as the Royal Party itself, led by Her Majesty the Queen, comes
out. COMMANDER OF THE FOOT GUARDS:
Parade, attention! The Duchess of Cambridge in the
centre. Vice-Admiral Sir Timmy Lawrence on the right -- Sir Timothy
Laurence on the right there and The Duchess of Gloucester. The Queen and
the Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Henry of Wales, who is standing in for his
father. The Duke of Cambridge. The Earl of Wessex, the Princess Royal
and the Duke of Kent. We are nearing the moment when Big
Ben will start chiming for 11.00am and for the two minutes' silence
being observed throughout this country, not just here at the
Cenotaph in Whitehall. Her Majesty the Queen, the head of
all the armed forces, lays the first wreath.
Next, the Duke of Edinburgh, who has been much in evidence this week, at
92. He was at the Field of Remembrance. He has been at various
other commemorations. Tomorrow, he will be in Belgium for the Last Post
ceremony at the Battle of Ypres, which is held every evening there on
the Field of Flanders. Prince Henry of Wales, better known
as "Harry". He is laying a wreath today on behalf of his father, the
Prince of Wales, who is on official business in India. In January, he
came back from a tour of Afghanistan as an Apache helicopter pilot. Many
of the Royal Family have military training. The Duke of Cambridge
next. He was a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force, a helicopter
and search and rescue work in Wales was his speciality. He is stepping
down now from that role. The Earl of Wessex is, in the
uniform of an honorary colonel of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry.
He will be followed by the Princess Royal. Today she will be taking the
salute of the march past after thes, when all of those parading go
back onto Horse Guards, and are organised by the Princess Royal.
And finally among the royal group here, the Duke of Kent, who is
president of the Commonwealth Walk Graves Commission. -- Commonwealth
War Graves commission. There are hundreds of graves all over the
world to remember all those who died.
The parade stands that ease, the funeral march is played as the Prime
Minister, David Cameron, lays the first wreath.
He is followed by the Deputy Prime Minister and Nick Clegg, the leader
of the Liberal Democrats. Ed Miliband, the Leader of the
Opposition, the leader of the Labour Party.
And now Nigel Dodds, , the Deputy Leader of the Democratic Unionist
party. Angus Robertson, of the Scottish
National Party lays a wreath on the half of Plaid Cymru, with an
inscription. George Osborne takes the place of William Hague, laying a
wreath on behalf of the Overseas Territories, a splendid wreath of
Juniper and Sage, made up specially in Kew.
Now it is the turn of the High Commissioners. They are from
countries which served in the first and Second World War is, why not two
of them are members of the Commonwealth which did not serve in
either but they are here because they are members of the
Commonwealth. The wreaths will be laid by High Commissioners, the
equivalent of ambassadors in these countries. The first group which
will step forward in a moment is from Canada, Australia, New Zealand,
South Africa, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Ghana and Malaysia.
The sacrifice of these countries goes back to World War I, Australia,
for instance, had one in five of those who went to war killed, they
fought at Gallipoli and Passchendale. The Canadians landed
14,000 Canadian troops. The New Zealanders served in World War I.
They had 58,000 casualties out of 100,000 New Zealanders who served
and 17,000 killed. The second group from Nigeria,
Cyprus, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, which was a German colony, Jamaica,
Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Kenya and allowing. -- mill our way.
-- Malawi. The next group led by Malta which sustained continuous
bombardment day and night. Alongside them, Zambia, Singapore, Guyana,
Botswana, Lesotho, Barbados and Mauritius.
What we are seeing here is a way of remembering, not all our allies in
the two world wars. The Americans, for instance, are not here. The
Russians from the Second World War are not here, but these are
countries seen as having particular close lid is with Britain, former
members of the British Empire, seen almost as a family of nations.
Swaziland, Tonga, Fiji, Bangladesh, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New
Guinea, Seychelles, the Commonwealth of Dominica and the island of St
Lucia. That brings us to the last of the High Commissioners groups coming
forward. St Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and
Barbuda, Maldives, Saint Kitts and need this, Brunei Darussalem,
Nvidia, which was a German territory at the time of the Second World War,
Cameron, Mozambique, any member of the Commonwealth and Rwanda, they
are all here paying their respects for the service which was done for
democracy in those two world wars. The chiefs of staff next, Admiral
Sir George Zambellas, Sir Peter Wall and Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew
Pulford. The chief of defence staff does not lay a wreath. Following
them, the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets. Mr Anthony Wright lays their
wreath. The representative of the Air Transport Auxiliary Service is
Mr Derek K Smith. And Tom Winsor, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary.
They step back. The service led by the issue of
London, Richard Chartres will begin. O Almighty God, grant we beseech
thee, that we who here do honour to the memory of those who have died in
the service of their country. And of the Crown may be so inspired by the
spirit of their love and fortitude, that, forgetting all selfish and
unworthy motives, we may live only to thy glory and to the service of
mankind. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
# O God Our Help in ages past. # Our hope for years to come.
# Our shelter from the stormy blast. # And our eternal home.
# Beneath the shadow of thy throne. # Thy saints have dwelt secure. #
Sufficient is thine arm alone. # And our defence is sure.
# Before the hills in order stood. # Or earth received her frame. #
From everlasting thou art God. # To endless years the same.
# A thousand ages in thy sight. # Are like an evening gone.
# Short as the watch that ends the night.
# Before the rising sun. # O God Our Help in ages past. # Our
hope in years to come. # Be though our guard while troubles
last. # And our eternal home.
Teach us good Lord to serve thee as thou deservest.
To give and not to count the cost. To fight and not to heed the wounds.
To toil and not to seek for rest. To labour and not ask for any
reward, Save that of knowing that we will do thy will.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen. Our Father.
Who art in Heaven. Hallow'd be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done.
On earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses. As we forgive those who trespass
against us. And lead us not into temptation.
But deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom.
The power and the glory. For ever and ever.
Amen. Unto God's gracious mercy and
protection we commit you. The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord
make his face to shine upon you. And be gracious unto you. The Lord lift
up the light of his countenance upon you. And give you his peace this day
and always. Amen. COMMANDER OF THE FOOT GUARDS:
Parade, COMMANDER OF THE FOOT GUARDS:
TRUMPETS PLAY # God save our gracious Queen.
# Long live our noble Queen. # God save the Queen.
# Send her victorious. # Happy and glorious.
# Long to reign over us. # God save the Queen.
The Royal Party now leaves Whitehall, still on the balcony the
Royal Party - we are being watched by the Duchess of Cambridge. I said
that was The Duchess of Gloucester on the right - it is of course the
Countess of Wessex. They go through the ranks of the
Queen's Scouts, who traditionally hold this staircase on the way back
into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Next, the clergy leaves. The choir in those wonderful scarlet coats
that date back to the restoration under Charles II and the Chapel
Royal used to accompany the Sovereign. They say it dates back
1,000 years. Now the politicians who are here.
They leave. The Speaker, John Bercow. Tony Blair on the left, Sir
John Major on his left. Gordon Brown and other members of the Cabinet and
Boris Johnson in the rear there. At this stage, as there is a pause now
before the march-past begins, let's re-join Sophie Raworth.
I'm here in amongst all these veterans and civilians with two men
who served with the 1st Royal Anglian Regiment. Corporal Billy
Drinkwater and Private Ken Facal. You were in Afghanistan three years
ago in an incident which left you without your sight. What happened?
What it was, it was nearly four years ago, I was moving into a
compound, I cleared the entry point, or Ken was clearing the entry point,
I was behind him covering him. Ken, you want to? We found an IED,
discovered - we didn't realise, or we didn't confirm what type of IED
it was. So we decided to mark the IED and obviously I was kneeling
down, Bill was on my shoulder and it went off. An horrific incident. You
were conscious throughout, weren't you, and for hours afterwards? Yes,
I was conscious in the helicopter on the way out and I got put under when
I arrived back at bastion, so was Ken. -- Bastion. You were looked
after together. How important was it for you to be together? You have
supported each other enormously? It is a big help for both of us. We had
each other to bounce off. We were friends before so it was good to
have that support with the same injury. You are both here today. You
are marching with the Blind Veterans UK. What does it mean to be here
today for you? It is an honour, it is a great honour to be here to pay
our respects to the guys that didn't make it. And our friends that died
in Afghanistan and Iraq. Also, to mark the work that the charity does
for you, they have done a lot for you. You have done a lot for them,
raising money? Yes, of course. The help they have given us has paid
dividends, with the rehabilitation. We get a lot of help from them and
you can pass it on to other people. I will let you take your place for
the march-past. Thank you for joining us.
It is humbling to listen to voices like that. And many of those
represented here today at the Cenotaph have had those kinds of
experiences of the horror of war. The President of the British Legion
approaches the Cenotaph with the Royal British Legion wreath. The
Royal British Legion being the largest of all the military
charities and one of the oldest - and the organiser of this march-past
here today. No mean task to get people from all-around Britain and
abroad to come here and form up their seven columns on Whitehall
ready for the march-past. They, of course, have arranged Poppy Day,
which is aimed at raising something like ?37 million this year. So the
President goes back to his place. Now, other representatives - London
Transport, the Royal Air Force's Association, the Royal Naval
Association, the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services league and the Royal
British Legion Scotland and the Royal British Legion Women's Section
will lay wreaths. The march-past will start soon and
it goes past the memorial to women, the black monument, commemorating
women at war. Their hats and coats are hung on pegs. It is easy to
forget that over seven million women in Britain were mobilised during the
Second World War. Nearly 500,000 of them were conscripted into the armed
forces and they drove ambulances, women worked on the land, they acted
as fire watchers and some of them were assigned to special secret
duties - women like Eileen Younghusband.
Bentley Priory in London is now a museum, but 70 years ago, it was the
home of one of the most important air defence strategies in the Second
World War. Eileen Younghusband was posted here. She had joined the
Women's Auxiliary Air Force aged 19 and she was sure she didn't want to
work in a canteen. Just before I went up for my
interview, I had met someone who was at school with me and she said, "If
you are going to join up, make certain that you tell them you want
to be Clerk's Special Duties." And I said, "What's Clerk's Special
Duties?" "I can't tell you" she said. That is exactly what happened
at the interview. The first thing this imposing Wing Officer said to
me is, "Do you want to be a cook or a driver?" I said, "I want to be a
Clerk's Special Duties." She nearly hit the ceiling. She was so amazed.
She said, "How do you know about that?" I said, "I don't know
anything about it, but I do know I have to tell you that I'm good at
mathematics." And that was the magic word. Being good at maths was key to
Eileen's new role in the Filter Room at Bentley Priory. It was the nerve
centre of Britain's new radar system. The task of Filter Room
staff was to interpret data from radar stations and use it to plot
the constantly changing positions of aircraft. It was intense and
difficult work. Stamina was so important because you might do an
eight hour watch and you were working constantly all the time.
There were girls plugged in on the telephone network. They were all
repeating any information they got, so the noise level was incredibly
high. On the balcony above was the controller identifying the aircraft,
shouting down, "Make it a hostile!" Make 173 a fighter. The women
working at the plotting table were in no doubt that the slightest
mistake could jeopardise lives. You have to imagine the atmosphere in
that room. The War was being fought in the air, in front of our eyes and
so many of the people there knew the squadrons that were operating, their
loved ones were taking part. Mayday. Two crash in the sea, air sea rescue
would go out and they wouldn't know whether it was their brother, their
husband, their lovers. They were doing their utmost to help our
pilots repel the enemy. Now 92, Eileen has never forgotten the vital
contribution her female colleagues made to the War. These women
dedicated their efforts to do everything possible to get us
victory, to help the men who were in the more dangerous positions
survive. I feel too that they deserve to be remembered at this
very special time of the year. Eileen Younghusband and some of her
extraordinary memories. I'm joined by the monument to women of World
War Two by Flying Officer Emily Don. You, I suppose, are the modern-day
equivalent of Eileen Younghusband. Tell us about the work you do? Yes,
we have a team of people on 24/7 identifying all the UK aircraft in
the skies and with the jets on standby to investigate anything that
looks out of the normal. You have served in Afghanistan as well? Yes,
I got back last month. I was embedded with the US Marine Corps
out there making sure the guys on the ground could receive the support
they needed in the air. As Eileen Younghusband said, it is very
important to remember and recognise the contribution of women to wars
over the decades? Yes, definitely. Every woman that signs up now is
expected to do an operational tour, the same as men. In World War Two,
there were many women involved, but it didn't get the recognition. Now,
it is a lot more important that we get remembered. Here with me as well
is Heather Duncombe. You have played your part. You have served for
almost 25 years. The Falklands, the Gulf War - you have worked very
hard. What brings you back here? To remember our fallen comrades, in
the Queen Alexandra nursing service and the girls and boys in
Afghanistan. Nowadays women get much closer to the front line than you
ever did? Absolutely, they go into the forward base operating areas and
on patrol as well. They are very busy, very important. Let's get one
final word with Colonel Matt Jackson. The role that women play,
they are not sent to the front line but they get there, don't they? They
certainly do. You had to see the story of the medic who got a
Victoria Cross. And the girls get very close to the front line. The
march past is about to start row shortly. Let me let you take your
places. Thank you for joining me. Thank you, safely. The mood changes
now. There is cheerful marching music, you will hear them all as the
music starts. The parade is led by the trustees of the Royal British
Legion. It begins this year with the War Widows Association. They wait
for the music to begin. And remember, there are over 10,000
veterans and civilians who will lay their wreaths. To the left of the
Cenotaph, it is the job of the men who will collect the wreaths and lay
them so there is a whole field of poppies around the memorial. You can
see the odd foreign cap badge, the yellow and red one there from the
Canadians. There are still 12-macro people who come here, but by and
large, these are members of forces from the United Kingdom or the
Commonwealth. Some people have come from New Zealand or Australia to be
here. It is an astonishing gathering and
it seems to grow each year, still, the numbers who come, as the crowds
on either side of Whitehall seemed to grow. Those people who stood in
silence. They now cheer the veterans as they go past.
The War Widows Association. Among them is Alex Williams who is
marching with her children today, in memory of her husband, a pilot who
was shot down in Iraq in 2003. You will see occasionally mothers with
children in the march past. They are followed by the British Gurkha
welfare society. The Gurkhas look after the needs of
former Gurkhas who live not here, but in Nepal. They are followed by
the Arab force founded in 1950. The Not Forgotten Association. Their
wreath lair, John Brunel-Cohen, who we were hearing from a moment ago, a
veteran of Normandy. The Dutch contingent and Polish
contingent have gone past. The Royal British Legion are next. They are
members who march with the Legion, rather than with regimental
organisations. And behind them this year for the first time, the Royal
British Legion Poppy Factory, who have been making poppies at Richmond
in Surrey. They are sold so successfully and raise, they hope,
?37 million. They are followed by the Northern Ireland Veterans
Association. The Irish United Nations veterans are also there with
green blazers and blue berets. The Ulster Defence Regiment, 197
soldiers were killed during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
The FSA -- SSA FA, who helped people every year.
Behind them is the first aid Nursing Yeomanry and the Association of
Jewish Ex-service men and Women. 2500 of them were killed fighting.
The music is It's A Long Way to Tipperary.. The British Limbless
ex-service men's Association. The service was founded back in 1932 to
help members with rehabilitation. But I them is the Wheelchair Sports
at macro Association -- behind them. They encourage people, it started
with paralysed veterans in North America with the wheelchair games.
The Royal Hospital, Chelsea, founded by Charles II in 1682 for the relief
of veterans broken by age and war. Not that these redoubtable figures
look broken by either. The Queen Alexandra's Hospital Home for
disabled ex-service men and women. 103-year-old Harry Molyneux is here
today. He was shot in the leg at Alamein. And the Royal Star and
Garter Homes, they care for people who have been seriously injured.
Walking With The Wounded, a new charity founded in 2010. The idea
was, among other things, to lead a team of 12 wounded from the United
Kingdom, America and the Commonwealth, to race to the South
Pole. The next column begins with the
Merchant Navy Association. The Royal Marines Association in their very
easily recognisable green berets. These tough men. A major is marching
with his son. They were formed originally way back in the 17th
century as the Admiral's Regiment. They have been Britain's commandos
since 1942. The Telegraphist Air Gunners
Association I hear. -- are here. They served in the Fleet Air Arm.
They flew in the rear seat of aircraft carriers. Not a very
salubrious place to be. You will see much more in a moment. Let's join
Sophie Rayworth. I am here amongst the veterans with
Colonel Matt Jackson. Your first time here in Whitehall at the
Cenotaph. What have you made of it? The two-minute silence was amazing.
You could see the thought process behind everybody and what they were
doing and what it meant to a number of individuals. You could not here
then other than the leaves in the background. It was amazing.
Humbling. Hugely humbling. Now there is a palpable change in atmosphere.
We have gone from a real thought process to almost a celebration of
life, much like after a wake, where people are remembering that aspect
of it now which is important. The important thing to remember is the
bond between all these people. There is no sense of rank here today, is
there? Not at all. I saw a field marshal marching together with a
private soldier at the front of one rank. Absolutely amazing. Thank you
very much. The type 42 Destroyers at macro
Association. HMS Sheffield was struck by an Exocet in the Falklands
conflict. 20 men on board died. We have seen many others go past from
the Royal Navy, Glasgow, HMS Cumberland, HMS Glasgow, HMS
Ganges, they have all marched past. The Queen Alexandra 's nursing
Association are here. Russian Convoy Club, significantly
they have been awarded a new medal, the Arctic Star. The replay is Trudy
Grenfell, marching in memory of her father who died in June this year,
just after he had been given the new Arctic Star at his home in
Portsmouth. They weigh these whitecaps. Terrible work they had to
do going through the ice, snow and fog to take food and supplies to
Russia. They still keep connections to Russia, to the places they went
to like Archangel. The Broadsword Association. They
were able to rescue people from HMS Coventry when it was bombed.
Broadsword is a type 22 frigate. It is a very significant year for this
column of marchers, the British Korean Veterans Association. They
have been marking the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean
War. A special new memorial is going to be put up in London on the
embankment to commemorate those who fought in Korea. Over 1000 British
were killed and 1000 were taken prisoner of war.
One of those who received the VC is still alive, though not on parade
here today. Members of the Italy Star Association follow the Normandy
Veterans and the Malaya and Borneo Veterans' Association.
Then Monte Cassino - that horrific battle which was fought and which
ended in May 1944. The Gallantry Medallists League. The
National Gulf Veterans and Families Association. An association that
supports those who fought in the first Gulf War or in Iraq or in
Afghanistan. 30 members marching here. Followed by the Fellowship of
the Services. The Burma Star Association follows them. The Green
Berets with the Burma Star badge. The wreath bearer served as an
armourer during the retaking of Burma.
They still have 3,500 members. They are followed by the Far East
Prisoners of War Association. Then the Suez Veterans Association, the
Aden Veterans Association. 1st Army Association. Showmen's Gild of Great
Britain. At the end of this column, Popski's Private Army, a strange
organisation whose job was to destroy field supplies that Rommel
had built up in the desert. When they were captured they were
told to say they were petrol pump attendants. The Black and White
Club. They have been in every conflict since they were established
in 1991. They had one of their members, Corporal Sarah Bryant,
killed in operations in Afghanistan. They go round to Horse Guards from
Whitehall. All these processions will go round to Whitehall. The
Chelsea Pensioners are just reaching there. The Princess Royal will be
taking the salute as they go past. Meanwhile, back on Whitehall, it is
the turn of the county regiments. They date back to the time when it
was thought that a regiment should get its membership from particular
counties giving a loyalty and that loyalty has survived and is
represented here. The Northumberland Fusiliers, the Duke of Lancasters,
the Green Howards, the Cheshire Regiment, the Mercian Regiment.
Among them, Sue Clack, the mother of Lieutenant Daniel Clack, who spoke
so movingly about her son. The Rifles Regiment has been on
operations continually since they were formed in 2007.
There's Sue Clack, in the centre there. She spoke about her son
marching so proudly with the Rifles Regimental Association. One of many
mothers, wives, sisters who march here today in memory of their
families. They are followed by the Gloucestershire, Berkshire and
wiment shire -- Wiltshire Regimental Association and this is the Durham
Light Infantry Association. Eight of their members were killed by the IRA
on a bus. They are followed by the Green Jackets, veterans who have
seen service in Borneo and Hong Kong and Cyprus and Gibraltar and
Northern Ireland and the Gulf, Kosovo, Bosnia and Iraq and
Afghanistan. The Royal Green Jackets march faster than anybody else in
the British Army - but not today, needless to say. The Parachute
Regiment now. They were called the Red Devils by the Germans. They came
back from Afghanistan in 2011. Formed in 1940 by Winston Churchill.
He wanted a corps of 5,000 that could land behind the lines. Then,
the Scots. Joe Hubble there. The Black Watch. Peter Watt son in the
wheelchair there, accompanied by his wife who served in the WRENS in
World War Two. Peter Watson. The Black Watch were preceded by the
Royal Scots Regimental Association and they were followed by the Gordon
Highlanders Association, the Grenadier Guards, the Coldstream
Guards, the Scots Guards, the Guards Parachute Association, and the
Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment. Let's re-join Sophie.
Wonderful applause ringing out here in Whitehall. Colonel Jackson, it is
wonderful to hear, isn't it? It is something you spoke to John Brunel
Cohen, a D-Day veteran earlier. That was one thing that he picked out. He
said he appreciated the public recognition? Yes. I don't know
whether people can see it. Along the banks, everyone is clapping. There's
clapping behind us. There is a fair bit of banter going on as well
between former regiments. It is amazing to be part of it. You have
been in the services a long time. Has that public recognition changed
over the years, the support you are seeing today? In general life, yes.
Generally speaking, in the last 20 years, I think the public's
affection to the military has grown significantly. We are standing here
watching these extraordinary faces go past, young and old. There is a
real bond of the generations, isn't there? There is. You can see it. I
just saw a young lad marching with his grandfather. I saw young people
pushing older veterans in wheelchairs. I think there is a real
baton being passed with the passing of the last First World War veterans
to be part of this march, to another younger but older generation. We saw
last week, Prince Harry accompanying the Duke of Edinburgh to the Field
of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey. You do get the sense that this act
of remembrance is being passed on? Absolutely. I felt that with John
Brunel Cohen, again from a personal perspective. Just seeing what they
did during the Second World War and to hear his stories of that event
and what he had done. My own grandfather who opened up to me when
I joined the forces. It was - a lot of respect for those. You can see
from the people we have been speaking to - and the people who are
walking past us right now - what it means to them, pride to be here
today? 100%. I couldn't put it better. What about for you? I have
been hugely privileged to be a part of this today. It will live long in
my memory. It is a real contrast from last year in that dusty area we
were talking about in Afghanistan to being here. I feel genuinely
privileged to have been here today. For now, thank you.
While Sophie was talking the Blind Veterans UK passed, the Royal
Dragoon Guards, the King's Royal Hussars, Reconnaissance Regiment Old
Comrades Association. The Army Dog Unit from Northern Ireland. The
Association of Ammunition Technicians who do such dangerous
work. The Beachley Old Boys Association,
Arborfield, too, the Women's Royal Army Corps Association.
The Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Association. Mike Brooke was talking
to Sophie earlier on. And as he was saying then, it is very, very
dangerous work for these people to do. The life expectancy of the
Sappers was only ten weeks. The Home Guard Association has been here. The
Royal Horse Artillery, the Royal Engineers Association. The Airborne
Engineers, the Army Air Corps, all people to do with handling dangerous
equipment. Then the Reconnaissance Corps. They replaced the Light
Cavalry of the past. Their job - their motto gives it away. "Only the
enemy in front." The Reconsaps DELWORD -- Reconnaissance Corps.
The Royal Military Police. Those are the Royal Pioneer Corps. They worked
here in London during the Second World War. There were over 7,000 of
them in Normandy. Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps
Association. The wreath bearer, Heather Duncombe, who spoke to
Sophie Raworth earlier. The wreath bearer there at the back of the
column - there she is. The Educational Corps, the
Veterinary Corps - they are all here.
These columns, broadly speaking, are made up of members of the same
service. There are exceptions, of course. The next column is the Royal
Air Force. We have the Royal Air Force
Association. And also the Royal Air Force
Regiment Association. Their work in Burma was such that the surrender of
the Japanese, Lord Mountbatten who was the supreme commander, said they
should form the guard of honour. They are followed by the Royal Air
Force X prisoners of war Association. John Nichol Mark is
with them. He was shot down. There is the beginning of Column C
passing the women of World War II memorial. The Princess Royal still
takes the salute of everyone who is part of this long procession of
veterans and civilians. We also have the Bomber Command
Association. They will receive a special class which says Bomber
Command, given along with the Arctic at macro star, it has taken them a
long time to get proper recognition. Just last year, their
new memorial, the bomber command Memorial, in Green Park was opened.
The attrition rate of Bomber Command was enormous. Most of them died.
The Royal Observer Corps follows them with their blue berets. Then
the RAF linguist, six Squadron the Royal Air Force. The air sea rescue
and marine craft section I hear with their rollneck pullovers under their
blazers. They also laid wreaths at Bridlington today. Their job to
rescue pilots who crashed into the sea in all weathers. Their leader
there spent 25 years on high-speed launches.
The Butterworth and Penang, a new organisation for people who served
in the Far East. The Women's Auxiliary Airforce
Association. they are marching on behalf of those
who were driving buses during the war. The first aid nursing Yeomanry
follows them led by Tricia Bishop. The British resistance movement are
marching for the first time today. They were set up by Winston
Churchill, to provide a force, in the case of a German invasion, that
would go underground, live in secret bunkers and come out and kill German
attackers if they could. They were never called on in the end but brave
men were called on to do that. Little was known about them because
they signed the official secrets act, until the late 1990s. This is
the first time they have marched. The first aid Nursing Yeomanry
preceded them. And the munition workers, the salvation army and the
London Ambulance Service. The Royal Ulster Constabulary, the
George Cross Association. And so the pile of poppies and
wreaths grows. The Commonwealth War Graves
commission wreath is there. Wreaths representing civilians, families,
the RSPCA. In France, in World War I they looked after 700,000 sick and
wounded animals in their hospitals. They are followed by other animal
charities, the Blue Cross, one of the leading charities in Britain and
the PDSA. That launched a Victoria Cross for animals known as the
Dickin Medal, awarded to animals who had shown conspicuous acts of
gallantry. The Malayan Volunteers Group, those
who fought as civilians in Melayu. The Gallipoli Association, the
Western Front Association and then the charities. The Association of
round tables, the Lions Club, the 41 Club and the Romany and Travverler
Society is here. The -- the Romany and Traveller
Society. It is a long march for some of these
people. There are people in this parade who are 100 years old. There
are publishing wheelchairs. They have been up here since seven
o'clock in the morning. There is a man walking with a stick. It is not
an easy business but it is something that veterans are dedicated to year
in, year out, so all of us can share in the experiences they went through
and so we can honour them by watching the ceremony. The Sea Cadet
Force now, the youngsters come through. And the Combined Cadet
Force follows them. Sea Cadets this time from Northern
Ireland, Scotland and the north-east of England. They are all the United
Kingdom. They are followed by the Combined Cadet Force. The Army Cadet
Force from Staffordshire and the West Midlands.
Experience leading youth there. They are giving marching orders for eyes
left. Behind them, the Scout Association I can see just coming
into the picture at the top there. Members of the Queens Scout working
party who hold the Queens Scout award. They have an honourable
history in World War II. During the blitz they showed outstanding
courage. The girl guides from London and the south-east of England this
year. They are representing members from Sussex. The counters of Wessex
is their president. The Boys Brigade and the Girls Brigade of England and
Wales -- the counters of Wessex. Brigade, the Metropolitan Police
cadets and at the end the St John Ambulance cadets and the British Red
Cross. They were formed in 1870, helping millions of people around
the world. That tale passes the Cenotaph. 10,366 people, we reckon,
have passed the Cenotaph. 241 groups have marched past and have gone
round to Horse Guards where we rejoin Sophie Rayworth.
Here we are on Horse Guards parade surrounded by thousands and
thousands of veterans and civilians who have taken part in the march
passed today. Two gentleman who had taken part for the first time, Heath
Jamieson who was marching with walking for the wounded and Steve
Tatham. You are incredibly lucky to be here today, tell us what happened
to you in Afghanistan. I got shot in Afghanistan. I fractured some
vertebrae and did a lot of damage so it is good to be here. You have
flown in literally, from Australia to highlight the importance of the
charities who are here today to highlight the work that you do. We
are doing an expedition to the South Pole leaving at the end of the week.
Charities like Walking With The Wounded help retrain soldiers to get
back into the civilian workforce. It is your first time here today. What
do you make of it? It is an honour. The British do it very well. Steve
Tatham, explain some of the work you did. Our job in Afghanistan is to
understand the human terrain. We have been there for seven years now,
trying to persuade people that the right course of action is not the
Taliban course of action but is a port their national government. Tell
me about the people you were remembering when you walked past the
Cenotaph early on. You lost one of your members, didn't you? We did, we
sadly lost Corporal Sarah Bryant who was one of our special analyst. You
cannot do our work from behind a barbed wire cage, you have to be
amongst the people. Unfortunately, she made
amongst the people. Unfortunately, here on the very first time and he
led the parade. With Earl Haig. And for you to be here today, you have
been here a few times now. I felt it was correct that I should come even
though sadly I am in a chair. That is not through any wound or
anything. You to part in the march passed in a chair but you are very
determined to stand with us now because it is a very proud moment
for you. It is indeed. The whole parade is a very thought-provoking
and evocative and emotive parade. To march through the streets of London,
cheered by thousands, is an experience. Colonel Mike Jackson,
extraordinary role. You met John Brunel-Cohen earlier on. I did. It
is about being able to have met him. Amazing. Thank you.
The Princess Royal still saluting as the veterans pass. The national
President of the British Legion is on the podium with her.
Everything becomes less formal after this. Many of these old friends
gather in pubs around the area, or go back to their clubs, regimental
clubs up-and-down the country. A memorable day for all of them in
this November sunshine. And a wonderful moment for us to recall
their sacrifice. Let's re-join Sophie again.
Here on Horse Guards Parade is Lieutenant Colonel Mike Smith. You
are the Rifles Regimental Casualty Officer. It is also incredibly
important to remember those who have been injured, very often very
severely in conflicts past? Absolutely. Every regiment considers
itself to be a family. We take that responsibility very seriously in the
Rifles. We have had 62 killed in action since the Rifles were formed.
For every soldier who has sadly lost his life, there is another four who
have been seriously wounded. Those guys need our help. Not now, but
forever. The average age of our seriously wounded is 18 to 26.
They've got decades, hopefully, of good life ahead of them. We need to
be there for them to make sure we offer support, financial, emotional
support for the rest of their lives. And important for you to be here for
that reason today? Absolutely. Thank you for joining me on Horse Guards
Parade. Thank you, Sophie. You know that, at
moments of national remembrance like today, we are reminded of the scale
of human suffering and the pain caused by war and to do that we
repeat the numbers of those killed in conflict though numbers alone
could help us understand the scale and horror of war. But it is not
easy, though, perhaps it is not possible to mourn numbers. Too
impersonal. Too many faces we have never seen. Too many stories we have
never heard. And it is not the raw numbers that those gathered here
remember, nor the families who have been bereaved by war remember, it is
one particular death. One absence from life. A son or daughter,
brother or sister, or friend who did not return. Just two minutes of
silence once a year seems so little to offer for everything they gave.
From Whitehall, goodbye.
David Dimbleby and Sophie Raworth present as Her Majesty the Queen leads the nation's Remembrance Sunday commemorations from the Cenotaph in Whitehall. The prime minister, leading politicians, representatives of many of the world's religions, dignitaries from around the Commonwealth and military leaders join thousands of veterans from countless conflicts for the two minute silence, service and march past. All gather to remember those men and women who have died in action serving their country.