Page last updated at 14:35 GMT, Sunday, 9 November 2008

Britain pays tribute to war dead


The Royal family lay wreaths after the two-minute silence

Ceremonies have taken place across the UK to remember the servicemen and women who lost their lives in all past and current armed conflicts.

The Queen led Remembrance Sunday tributes at the Cenotaph in London's Whitehall before thousands of veterans marched past the monument.

Troops on active service in Iraq and Afghanistan also held services.

This year's events come just two days before the 90th anniversary of the armistice at the end of World War I.

The commemoration of Britain's war dead began with a gun blast and two minutes' silence on Whitehall. The Queen then laid the first wreath of poppies.

She was followed by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Prince William and other members of the royal family.

It's important to keep remembering, and it's not just limited to the First or Second World War
Des Feely
Father of Corporal Sarah Bryant

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Foreign Secretary David Miliband, opposition party leaders and Commonwealth envoys also laid wreaths.

For the first time, the Territorial Army - which is celebrating its 100th anniversary - laid a wreath at the monument.

Royal British Legion spokesman Stuart Gendall said it was important for the nation to come together and remember all those that died fighting for their country.

'Pause for thought'

Remembrance services have been held in towns and cities across the UK.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond laid a wreath at the Stone of Remembrance in Edinburgh and said this was a time to "pause for thought".

At the Welsh National War Memorial in Cathays Park, Cardiff, First Minister Rhodri Morgan paid tribute to the sacrifices made by members of the armed forces.

In Belfast, up to 1,000 people gathered in the grounds of the City Hall for the Act of Remembrance ceremony, which included a fly-past by three helicopters.

Des Feely, the father of the first female British soldier killed in Afghanistan, laid a wreath in her honour at a ceremony in Carlisle's city centre.

Corporal Sarah Bryant, 26, was killed on duty in June in a roadside explosion near Lashkar Gah, in the south of the country.


Remembrance services in London, Iraq and Afghanistan

Mr Feely said: "It's important to keep remembering, and it's not just limited to the First or Second World War. There are ongoing sustained casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It highlights the fact that for people here in this country, their way of life - freedom of speech, freedom of movement - is still being preserved through the actions of others."

In Somerset, Harry Patch, Britain's last living veteran of the First World War trenches, laid a wreath in honour of his fallen comrades.

My father died aged 98 but on his death bed he called out for his horse Maisie, who saved his life on many occasions
S Wright

"It was 90 years ago. But you can't forget it," said the 110 year old.

On the other side of the country, a lone Spitfire flew over Duxford near Cambridge, home to one of England's most famous Battle of Britain air bases.

In the Essex garrison town of Colchester, thousands gathered to salute the war dead, turning out in higher numbers than last year.

The Colchester-based 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, lost nine soldiers during its recent tour of Afghanistan, plus a further six linked to it.

Overseas services

British troops stationed at Afghanistan's largest military base, in Kandahar, held their own Remembrance Day ceremony.

The BBC's Ian Pannell in Afghanistan said in the 12 months since the last Remembrance Sunday service, 39 British men and women have died while serving their country.

Their comrades stationed in the southern Iraqi city of Basra also laid wreaths and attended a prayer service.

Harry Patch, accompanied by Henry Allingham, 112, and Bill Stone, 108 - the three remaining First World War veterans who still live in the UK - are due to mark the two-minute silence at the Cenotaph to commemorate Armistice Day on Tuesday.

Print Sponsor


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

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific