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Wednesday, November 11, 1998 Published at 15:53 GMT


Britain falls silent for the dead

Travellers at London's Victoria station stand and observe the silence

Much of the United Kingdom fell silent on Wednesday as Britons paid homage to those who died in World War I.

World War 1:Special Section
Factories, offices, shops, schools, hospitals, railway stations and even airports fell silent for two minutes at 11.00 on Wednesday morning as Britons, young and old, remembered the fallen.

Shoppers, travellers and workers bowed their heads to acknowledge Armistice Day.

Most of Britain's television and radio channels broke into their programmes to observe the two minutes' silence.

But the observation was not universal.

At Manchester's Piccadilly train station some travellers seemed too busy to care.

Gary Duffy reports on how Britain observed the two minutes' silence
Called to attention by the public address system many stood silently but others carried on, apparently unable to spare a moment.

Respect for the fallen

In Newcastle's main street shops turned off background music - some even turned Christmas lights off - and only the barking of a dog marred the silence.

In Glasgow's George Square 150 ex-servicemen, joined by students and shoppers, gathered to mark Armistice Day but traffic provided a hum of background noise.

[ image: MPs observe the two minutes' silence in the House of Commons]
MPs observe the two minutes' silence in the House of Commons
Glaswegian Joe Moran 75, who served in the Highland Light Infantry said: "It was an absolute disgrace when the traffic was roaring round the square as if it was a racetrack."

Escalators in several Merseyside shopping centres ground to a halt and cash tills were silenced as a mark of respect.

Generation gap

One pensioner wiped a tear from his eye but a young child looked on in bemusement.

In Bristol city centre World War II veterans were joined by the Lord Mayor, Graham Robertson, for a service.

More than 3,000 workers at the Honda car factory in Swindon laid down their tools for two minutes to pay tribute.

A toddler's cries briefly broke the silence in Leeds city centre as a crowd of 500 stood at the local Cenotaph to commemorate the Armistice.

The Reverend John Hamilton, Chaplain to the Leeds Royal British Legion, led the Lord's Prayer and the Last Post was played by two buglers.

[ image: Lance Corporal Kenny Harkness plays The Last Post in Horseguards Parade]
Lance Corporal Kenny Harkness plays The Last Post in Horseguards Parade
In London several hundred people adhered to the silence in St James's Park as Big Ben struck 11.00.

Tourists on Horseguards Parade also paid their respects.

Several remembrance ceremonies were conducted in Northern Ireland.

Later on Wednesday Territorial Army gunners will fire a World War I-vintage Minute Gun in the Somme Heritage Centre at Conlig, County Down, to honour the dead.

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