Whitehall Remembrance with March for England
To Whitehall with my friends of March for England to lay wreaths ahead of Remembrance Sunday tomorrow. In previous years readers may recall a procession with flags and English banners. In view of the current climate this year's commemoration was more private.
My daughter and I started at the Garden of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey where poppies are left in spaces set out for all the services, ships and regiments who have fought in wars since 1914 until the present , many of which are no longer in existence. Some are attached to wooden crosses, others to the Star of David, or a plain cenotaph. The Islamic cresents for Muslim servicemen, of which there are a few, do not bear a poppy.
The men and women of March for England had prepared three wreaths. The first was laid at the Gurkha memorial in Horse Guards Avenue.
The second was laid at the Women's Memorial in Whitehall.
The final wreath, dedicated to the son of a family known to March for England who was killed in Afghanistan was destined for the Cenotaph. First the ladies of the War Widow's Association were holding their own Service of Remembrance. In the years immediately after WWII the war widows were not permitted to join the main National Service of Remembrance on the Sunday morning nearest the 11th November. Indeed the government seemed to find them a bit of an embarrassment. Due to their campaigning the treatment of the widows of men killed on active service is now improved, but they retain their tradition of the Saturday service, when they lay a cross of white flowers. The ladies and men with the Chaplain and dignitaries processed into Whitehall led by a pipe and drum band formed of both Scots and Irish pipes from several different bands. The hymns were played by an RAF band, some of whom were retirees. Their service was short and moving.
When it had ended and after a decent interval we were allowed up to the Cenotaph where the last wreath was laid by the small daughter of one of MfE's members. We stood in silence for a minute and then dispersed.
March for England have attended the Cenotaph every year since their inception. This year was no exception despite the tribulations attached to our movement and assembly during the last 18 months.
Photographs E Weatherwax and S Sto Helit November 2012.
Posted on 11/10/2012 1:20 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax