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Former military chiefs call for shops to close on armistice centenary

The idea has been supported by the USDAW trade union.

All shops should be made to close on November 11 as Britain marks the centenary of the armistice, two former military chiefs have said.

Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday fall on the same date in 2018 which also happens to be 100 years since the cessation of hostilities in the First World War.

The armistice was signed between the allies and Germany at Compiegne, France, and took effect on the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”.

We urge the government... to ensure this very special act of remembrance in 2018

A letter to the Times, signed by former head of the Army, General Lord Dannatt, and former first sea lord Admiral Lord West among others, read: “Marking as it does the centenary of the end of the First World War, we believe it would be right to mark it by ensuring that, as on Easter Day, all shops are closed that Sunday.

“We urge the Government to bring in the simple legislation necessary to ensure this very special act of remembrance in 2018.”

The letter noted the move has been proposed and supported by the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers at its annual conference.

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Commemoration events will take place at the Cenotaph (Rick Findler/PA)

The UK will mark 100 years since the end of the First World War with a procession of 10,000 civilians past the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day, the Culture Secretary announced earlier this month.

The event – titled A Nation’s Thank You – The People’s Procession – will be followed by bell ringing by churches across the country to echo the actions of British citizens 100 years ago.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Culture Media and Sport said: “On the centenary of the end of the First World War, it is right that we come together to give thanks to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and those who returned home to help shape the world we live in today.

“We encourage everyone, whatever their connection to the war, to commemorate the centenary of the Armistice in a way that is meaningful to them.”

It is understood that shops and businesses will be free to decide whether to open on November 11 or not.

A British Retail Consortium spokeswoman said: “We recognise that the centenary of the First World War is a momentous and poignant point in our national history.

“However, it is an operational matter for individual retailers as to whether they use the current Sunday trading regulations to open after 12pm on 11 November.”

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