View Full Version : Cenotaph ceremony in London

9th Nov 2014, 14:32
Does anyone know why the Welsh Nationalist Party laid a wreath on behalf of the SNP today?[ I'm sure that's what the commentator said]

9th Nov 2014, 14:56
Following the 2001 general election neither the SNP nor Plaid were permitted to lay a wreath in their own right at the Cenotaph in London on Remembrance Sunday.
A joint group was therefore formed and representations were made in order to secure the right to lay a wreath.
On behalf of the joint group, the SNP and Plaid Westminster leaders now do so on alternate years.SNP marks Remembrance Sunday | Scottish National Party (http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2014/nov/snp-marks-remembrance-sunday)

9th Nov 2014, 16:06
In honour of Remembrance Day, this week the Forces War Records team paid a visit to the grave of Henry John ‘Harry’ Patch, the last survivor of the trenches of the First World War.
On 25th July, 2009, Henry John ‘Harry’ Patch passed away at the lofty age of 111.
With him died the living memories of the trenches of World War One, for he was the last survivor who served on the Western Front.
Thanks to his 2007 autobiography, The Last Fighting Tommy, his recollections are preserved as part of Great War history, but he would have been the last person to wish his actual experiences on anybody.
On June 1917, aged just 19, Harry found himself on the Front at Passchendaele, watching in horror as men from the Yorkshire and Lancashire regiments charged over the top to their deaths.
Two or three weeks later, his turn came at Pilckem Ridge.
Crawling through No-Man’s Land, he stopped for a young man lying ripped open from shoulder to waist, who begged to be shot but soon died with a joyful cry of “Mother” on his lips.
On reaching the enemy trench, Harry was forced to shoot a German soldier who charged him with raised bayonet. He spared his life, wounding him in the shoulder, leg and ankle.
Harry never shot to kill, and as far as he knows he never took a German life. However, that didn’t prevent others from trying to take his.
On 22nd September 1917 came the worst day of the war for Harry, the day when a shell burst over his Lewis Gun section, wounding him and killing three of his unit. He was invalided home to Southampton.
Throughout his last years he continually spoke out against war, and when he met Tony Blair in 2006, expressed the opinion that no soldier should ever have been shot for cowardice in the field.
Harry Patch now lies at peace in the English countryside that he fought to keep free, at Monkton Combe close to his home town of Combe Down, Somerset.
The graveyard is well-kept, quiet and sun-drenched, with just the rustle of autumn leaves to be heard; a few had made their way onto the grave, so we tidied them off and cleared one or two small weeds while we were at it.
There are lovely views over green wooded hills, and he is surrounded once more by the brothers-in-arms who died in the conflict he survived.
How many war heroes are commemorated near you?
Be sure to pay them a visit on or around Remembrance Day, and perhaps bring some flowers, to make sure their sacrifice for Britain is not forgotten in this Centenary year.

9th Nov 2014, 21:57
An excellent and heartfelt post G-CPTN.:D I remember watching a documentary about Harry Patch, he struck me as a very humble man.


9th Nov 2014, 22:44
Thank you, G-CPTN.
I used to live in Monkton Combe; it is indeed delightful.
Spare a thought as you pass, if you visit Harry's grave, for all the former pupils of Monkton Combe School who served and died. They gave more than their fair share. The names are recorded on plaques in the school's own chapel.

9th Nov 2014, 22:53
The Last Fighting Tommy: The Life of Harry Patch, The Oldest Surviving Veteran of the Trenches: Amazon.co.uk: Harry Patch, Richard Van Emden: Books

10th Nov 2014, 02:46
There is another Harry, who was not at the Cenotaph on Sunday.
He was in Kandahar.

10th Nov 2014, 08:26
How many war heroes are commemorated near you?

All of them - see National Memorial Arboretum (http://www.thenma.org.uk/)

This place seems to be surprisingly little known outside the immediate area. We go about once a year, it is a wonderful location to reflect on those who have gone before.

If you ever travel on the A38 between Birmingham and Derby, its a one minute diversion to get there. Take a look.

10th Nov 2014, 12:52
Have to agree. Stunning place which in its own way brings out the "deep contemplative" side of your soul. For me the most moving of all was the Shot at Dawn memorial, placed at the very eastern end of the arboretum, where it is first to catch the morning light. Stark, brutal and brought this sane sensible man to tears in seconds. I think of it often and the price paid by those who were shot as cowards, when they were simply being human.

10th Nov 2014, 13:56
Glorious morning today in Reading.....Out and about messing around with my camera. Forbury gardens has a conventional, but very smart memorial at the gates, but in the centre of the park is a magnificent tribute to the battle of Maiwand (2nd Afghan war, 1880), which saw heavy casualties to the 66th regiment of foot, and associated Indian army units. Noticed there were wreaths placed there as well as at the "normal" memorial. Anyway here's a detail from the monument.

http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k288/loki_021/DSC_0023.jpg (http://s91.photobucket.com/user/loki_021/media/DSC_0023.jpg.html)

Union Jack
11th Nov 2014, 10:45
Be sure to pay them a visit on or around Remembrance Day, and perhaps bring some flowers, to make sure their sacrifice for Britain is not forgotten in this Centenary year. G-CPTN

Have just returned from observing the Two Minutes Silence alongside Harry Patch's grave, and carried on the minor tidying to which G-CPTN referred, albeit in very different weather from that which he so nicely describes, but which keeps those wooded hills green. Trust that Harry did not mind a naval salute, and very touched to hear the sound of a bugle in the distance at precisely 1100.

Spare a thought as you pass, if you visit Harry's grave, for all the former pupils of Monkton Combe School who served and died. - Fox3

Spare a thought indeed, and I hope Fox3 will be quietly pleased to hear in return for his own thoughtfulness that one of the several miniature memorial crosses at the head of the grave was in fact from Monkton Combe School.

On a minor note of personal interest, as a wee Edinburgh laddie, I was touched to note that the Forces War Records' wreath had come from Lady Haig's Poppy Factory, located very near my childhood home and Warriston Cemetery, where my maternal grandmother is buried following her death on this very day.


11th Nov 2014, 14:11
Godspeed, cousins in arms.

11th Nov 2014, 14:39
Going back to the OP, another welcome addition to the wreath laying party for the first time was the Irish Ambassador. It has taken the Irish government far too long to rid the country of its ambivalent, if not hostile, attitude to its participation in the Great War, as well as towards the tens of thousands of its citizens who risked prosecution to join the British armed forces in the Second World War.

My own grandfather was Irish but had come to live in Scotland in the 1900. He volunteered in 1916 at the age of 41 and served in the Royal Engineers until 1918 when he was medically discharged. On returning to live in Mullingar in the 1930s he kept very quiet about his army record, and when my father went to visit him he was told not to mention the fact that he was in the British Army.

It should be remembered that every Irishman who fought in the Great War was a volunteer - there was never conscription in Ireland as there was on the mainland, and this was also the case in Northern Ireland in World War Two. It is good therefore that Ireland is now taking pride in its former soldiers, not regarding their existence as some shameful secret.

11th Nov 2014, 16:36
Very many thanks, Union Jack

11th Nov 2014, 16:44
I do wish someone would (forcibly if required) point out to the BBC and some others that today marks the end of WWI in 1918 and that was not yet 100 years ago.

11th Nov 2014, 16:52
I watched the ceremony and found it very moving.
But it made me angry to note the presence of the self-serving :mad: Blair who was responsible for the deaths of many of our servicemen in pointless wars. IMO he had no right to be there.