Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Saturday, October 10, 1998 Published at 07:45 GMT 08:45 UK


Armistice silence online

The Spice Girls with Dame Vera Lynn launched last year's poppy appeal

Traditionally, the two-minute silence for those who died at war takes place at 11am on 11 November: people around the UK stop to remember the sacrifice of those who fought and never returned.

This year, thanks to the Internet, the chance to pause and reflect can be taken at any time.

Internet Correspondent Chris Nuttall: "The Net is mostly a silent medium, but the Legion has created an act of remembrance"
The Royal British Legion plans to post an animated sequence on its Website on October 12, which users can view at any time.

The montage will begin with the bugle call of the Last Post and include images of war and poppies - the commemorative symbol of the human carnage of war.

[ image: The scene of the traditional armstice parade]
The scene of the traditional armstice parade
It is to end as it began, with a bugle sounding the Reveille.

Jeremy Lillies of the Royal British Legion said: "With the Internet it doesn't have to be on the exact day, what we are trying to do is give people an opportunity to pause and reflect.

"We are an organisation which has an image of dealing with just old people but we are not - using the Internet will allow young as well as old to remember the dead.

"Many schools also have access to the Internet now and the silence on our Web page will help educate people as well allow them to remember."

The Legion's embrace of modern technology comes a year after they persuaded the Spice Girls to take its annual campaign to a new generation.

Former Ginger Spice, Geri Haliwell, said: "War affects everyone especially the young like in the Falklands and Bosnia today so as the next generation this is our future so it's our responsibility to get involved."

And Sporty Spice, Mel Chisholm, added: "Millions of people died so that we could be free."

Joining the force's sweetheart, Dame Vera Lynn, their presence helped the organisation raise a record £17.3m in 1997 for the families of those who died at war.

[ image: The poppy has become the symbol of the war dead]
The poppy has become the symbol of the war dead
The Legion's general secretary, Ian Townsend, said: "The popularity and pulling power of Britain's number one pop group was a major factor behind this extremely welcome result.

"The Legion is now attracting increasing interest and attention from young people and it will need to build on that.

"By 2010 the number of ex-Service men and women eligible to call on the Legion for help is likely to fall from the current six million to around three and a half million.

"But demands on the Legion's services and resources will continue to increase as the State will be less able than before to cope with the needs of the elderly in society."

This year is the 80th anniversary of Armistice Day - the end of the World War I.

The annual two-minute silence falls on the exact date and time of the cessation of violence.

The silence began in the 1920s but stopped in the 1950s because of lack of public interest.

The Legion successfully campaigned for it to be reintroduced the following decade and now say more than two-thirds of the British public mark it in some way.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Sci/Tech Contents

Relevant Stories

10 Oct 98†|†Sci/Tech
Their names liveth - on the Internet

05 Oct 98†|†UK
Flanders symbol for hope in Ireland

Internet Links

Royal British Legion

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

World's smallest transistor

Scientists join forces to study Arctic ozone

Mathematicians crack big puzzle

From Business
The growing threat of internet fraud

Who watches the pilots?

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer