Services of Remembrance took place on board Royal Navy ships, in Army barracks and at RAF stations across the UK and around the world this year as well as in towns and cities up and down the country.
In London, thousands of veterans and civilians marched past The Cenotaph on Whitehall where the official wreath-laying ceremony was led by Her Majesty The Queen and members of the Royal Family along with members of the Government, including Prime Minister David Cameron and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.
In Afghanistan, services took place in the main bases of Camp Bastion, Kandahar and Lashkar Gah as well as at forward operating and patrol bases. The service at Camp Bastion took place at the vigil site and was led by Senior Chaplain Wing Commander John Ellis.
Also in attendance was Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Mark Francois, who laid a wreath at the vigil site, and Lieutenant Colonel Richard Parry who is leading the UK’s Afghanistan Media Operations Cell and acts as the senior spokesman for UK forces in Afghanistan.
The remembrance parade was a particularly poignant moment for Lieutenant Colonel Parry as he remembered two of his regimental colleagues from 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards (QDG) who died a year ago almost to the day. One of the two, Lance Corporal Richard Scanlon, like Lieutenant Colonel Parry, also came from Brecon.
Lance Corporal Scanlon died alongside his commander, Lieutenant David Boyce, when their Scimitar armoured vehicle hit an improvised explosive device whilst on patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province on 17 November 2011.
Lieutenant Colonel Parry said:
Remembrance Day is a hugely important day in the military calendar as we recall colleagues and friends who have fallen over the years. But to be on operations on the day and surrounded by thousands of servicemen and women adds to the poignancy and significance of the event.
I was glad that as the names of those who have died in Afghanistan since Remembrance Day 2011 were read out on the parade, as one of the three QDGs currently serving here, I was able to pay our respects to a brother officer and friend from the regiment.
At Kandahar Airfield hundreds of UK troops fell silent for two minutes at the Allied War Memorial on the Airfield along with a large contingent of coalition troops, including Americans and Canadians.
The Commanding Officer of 904 Expeditionary Air Wing, Group Captain Richard Barrow, said:
It is an honour and a privilege to hold this service and lay a wreath in memory of all those who have lost their lives in the service of their country. To do so here in Afghanistan is all the more poignant.
Services were also held in towns and cities up and down the length of the UK. In Glasgow thousands turned up in George Square to pay their respects to fallen soldiers, sailors and airmen.
The service held at the Cenotaph in George Square saw over a thousand serving personnel, veterans, cadets, police and firemen on parade, along with the Royal British Legion and the Remembrance Day service party which included the Lord Lieutenant and Lord Provost of Glasgow Sadie Docherty and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
In the market town of Olney, Buckinghamshire, representatives of the Olney Royal British Legion, Olney Town Council, St John Ambulance, Thames Valley Police and the Fire Brigade, together with Scouts, Guides, Armed Forces personnel and veterans, gathered with Olney citizens at the Remembrance Garden in the town centre to pay their respects.
The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire hosted a special outdoor Service of Remembrance to mark Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday. The service was attended by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester who were representing Her Majesty The Queen.
The congregation included senior representatives of the Government and Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.
Dr Andrew Murrison, Minister for International Security Strategy, represented the Government, while Vice Admiral Philip Jones, General Sir Nicholas Parker and Air Marshal Richard Garwood were the senior Service representatives for the Royal Navy, the British Army and the Royal Air Force respectively.
Around 700 invited guests and ticket-holders attended the service itself, while an estimated 3,000 people came to the Arboretum, which is part of the Royal British Legion family of charities, to watch proceedings via a large screen.
There were also many services at barracks, bases and RAF stations. Sailors from HMS Raleigh took part in a remembrance service at the graves of 44 sailors and 21 Royal Engineers who were killed during the Second World War.
Around 500 members of HMS Raleigh’s ship’s company and trainees marched to Horson Cemetery in Torpoint where those who lost their lives are buried in official war graves. They were killed when a German bomb hit an air-raid shelter within the base on 28 April 1941.
Wreaths were laid during the graveside service by the Commander of HMS Raleigh, Commander Steve Layland, the Deputy Mayor of Torpoint, Councillor Mike Pearn, Mr John Stamp representing the Royal British Legion, and Warrant Officer Paul Carter of the Torpoint and Rame Royal Naval Association.
Trainee submariner Leon Armstrong, who is one of the youngest sailors under training at HMS Raleigh, also laid a wreath. The 16-year-old from Middlesbrough began his ten-week initial training course in September. He said:
I’m proud to have been picked to honour the brave people who have gone before me.
Further afield, a remembrance service was held at the Mount Pleasant Complex (MPC) in the Falklands on Friday 9 November; the service, conducted by Padre (Squadron Leader) Chris Lawrence and Chaplain Horne RN, was attended by personnel from both the military and civilian communities based at the MPC.