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Westminster Abbey and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Abbey is no longer open for public worship, general visiting or private prayer. Meanwhile, the community of Abbey clergy, privately and following guidance given, will sustain the worship of a building that has been a witness to God’s grace and glory for over a thousand years.

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War dead 1914-1918

On 19th October 1926 Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII), unveiled a memorial in Westminster Abbey to the Million Dead of the First World War. It was presented to the Abbey by the Imperial War Graves Commission. This stone tablet, designed by Lt. Colonel P.H.C. de Lafontaine, has coloured arms of the United Kingdom in the centre, surrounded by those of India, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Newfoundland. The memorial was placed on a special platform in the nave, near the monument to Newton, for the unveiling service and then put in its present position in St George's chapel, near the grave of the Unknown Warrior (the chapel at this period was called the chapel of the Holy Cross or Warriors chapel). The original inscription, in blue with gilt capitals, was composed by Rudyard Kipling and read:

To The Glory of God And to the memory of One Million Dead of the British Empire who fell in the Great War 1914-1918. They Died in Every Quarter of the Earth and on all its Seas and their Graves are made sure to them by their Kin. The Main Host lie Buried in the Lands of our Allies of the War who have set aside their resting places in Honour for Ever

The inscription was altered after the Second World War but is the same as the above apart from the extra words:

...Who fell in the Two Wars 1914 and 1939...

after the word Empire.

Memorial

19th October 1926

Occupation

Soldier; airman; sailor

Location

St George's Chapel

Memorial Type

Tablet

War dead 1914-1918
Million war dead 1914-1918 memorial with addition for 1939-1945

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2020 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

It’s very hard not to be enthusiastic working at the Abbey. If this place doesn’t make you smile I don’t know what will.

Valerie - Foundation Director

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