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Sunday, 10 November, 2002, 16:21 GMT
Britain remembers war dead
Chelsea pensioners
A parade of veterans followed the ceremony
Britain fell silent for a solemn two minutes in Remembrance Day services across the country to honour those killed in conflict.

The Queen led the largest Remembrance Day service at the Cenotaph in central London, joined by thousands of war veterans and military personnel remembering those who died serving their country.

Crowds of onlookers, many of them elderly, braved driving rain to pay their respects to the fallen in conflicts across the world.

The Queen
The Queen laid a wreath on behalf of the nation
The strike of Big Ben and a gunshot rang out to mark the start of the two minute silence at 1100 GMT.

It ended with another gunshot and The Last Post before the Queen laid her wreath on behalf of the whole nation at the foot of the Cenotaph.

Senior members of the Royal Family, Prime Minister Tony Blair, other politicians and representatives of religious communities also laid wreaths of poppies at the white stone monument, which remembers 'The Glorious Dead'.

The Bishop of London led prayers and blessings during the ceremony before the gathered crowd sang the National Anthem.

Falklands tribute

This year's service - the first without Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who died earlier this year - fell on the 20th anniversary of the Falkland Island conflict and amid the growing prospect of renewed conflict with Iraq.

Falklands veterans had a special place at the ceremony as the members of South Atlantic Medal Association led the parade of almost 7,000 veterans.

If it wasn't for all of these veterans, we wouldn't be here today

Martin Kemp
Members of other veteran organisations , including a number in wheelchairs, followed in the parade past the Cenotaph to music from the military bands.

Among the thousands of people who braved the weather to watch the march-past was Bill McDonald, 55, a former lieutenant in the Royal Signals, from Kent.

Mr McDonald, who saw service in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s, said: "It has gone as smoothly as it always does. We are seeing history go past."

Michael Kemp, 52, watched his 17-year-old son Christopher in the parade.

The teenager, from north-west London, is a sergeant in 64 Squadron Royal Cadets, and hopes to join the RAF next year.

Security fears

Mr Kemp, whose parents both served in the Second World War, said: "It's overwhelming to see all of these people.

"They are terrific people. The weather will never put these veterans off."

Prince Andrew
Prince Andrew attended a ceremony in the Falklands
Vic Jinks, 71, a former corporal in the Royal Warwickshire regiment, said: "I hope the young ones never forget this.

"I hope the tradition never dies."

Security at the Cenotaph event, which comes ahead of Armistice Day on Monday, was tight, with onlookers having to pass through metal detectors and have their property searched.

Hundreds of police officers were also patrolling the streets of Westminster.

The security measures come amid heightened fears in recent days of a terrorist attack following a warning by Home Secretary David Blunkett.

Armistice Day

Meanwhile the Duke of York led Remembrance Sunday commemorations 8,000 miles from his mother on the Falkland Islands.

Prince Andrew - who served as a helicopter pilot in the 1982 war - attended a Sunday service and wreath-laying in the capital, Stanley, along with 200 Falklands veterans on a pilgrimage.

Sunday's services follows the Festival of Remembrance, at London's Royal Albert Hall on Saturday night, attended by a host of dignitaries.

On Monday many people are expected to observe another two minute silence at 1100 GMT, marking Armistice Day and the end of World War I.

The Royal British Legion is continuing its campaign to have the silence reinstated in the national calendar.

Meanwhile its Poppy Appeal aims this year to raise 22m to fund welfare and resettlement work for 5.5 million ex-service men and women and their 7.5 million dependants.

The BBC's Jennie Bond
"The Queen led the nation in a two minute silence"
Diane Myers, Royal British Legion
"You felt a great mood of reflection this morning"
Mike Allen of the US Marine Corps League
"It is a real honour to be here"

In remembrance



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