Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Queen leads nation in remembrance

The Queen at the Cenotaph in Whitehall for the annual Remembrance Day Service
Members of the Royal Family watch over the Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph
Members of the public view poppy wreathes following a service of remembrance in the centre of Cambridge

The country fell silent to remember its war dead at services across the country as the Queen led the nation in honouring the fallen.

At Whitehall's iconic Cenotaph memorial the monarch laid the first wreath to commemorate members of the Armed Forces who died fighting in all conflicts since the First World War.

In brilliant autumn sunshine senior members of the monarchy, Prime Minister David Cameron, military chiefs and thousands of watching spectators gathered to pay their respects.

When the first stroke of eleven sounded from nearby Big Ben Whitehall observed a two-minute silence only punctuated by the hum of distant London traffic.

The Duchess of Cambridge watched the sombre events from a balcony at the Foreign and Commonwealth building with other royal women - the first time she has attended a Remembrance Sunday service as a member of the monarchy.

Her thoughts may have turned to her grandfather Peter Middleton who trained Canada pilots during the Second World War in Calgary and died last year aged 90.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, who on Saturday returned from visiting troops in Afghanistan, paid tribute to the country's Armed Services.

He said: "We know that public opinion of the Armed Services is at a record high, the Armed Services have acquitted themselves incredibly well, of course in Afghanistan on an ongoing basis - and also in the operation in Libya over the course of this year.

"The public hugely respects and admires what our service people do and the professionalism with which they do it, and we're here today to remember those who sadly have paid the ultimate price."

Forces in Camp Bastion, Britain's largest base in Afghanistan, and other military outposts across the world held their own services to pay tribute to past servicemen and women.

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