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Members of the Royal Family honour war dead

Thursday, 7th November 2019

Members of the Royal Family honour war dead

TRH The Duke and Duchess of Sussex opened the 91st Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey on Thursday 7th November.

The annual event has been taking place since November 1928 when The Poppy Factory took a group of disabled veterans, a tray of poppies and a collecting tin to the grounds of St Margaret's Church. Only a handful of poppies were planted around a single cross, but it began a tradition that has grown over the decades and now tens of thousands of poppies on wooden crosses are planted every year.

In his welcome to this year’s event, the Abbey’s Acting Dean, the Venerable David Stanton, said:

For the 91st time at the Field of Remembrance we meet again to remember those who gave their lives in the conflicts of our time, that we might enjoy freedom and peace. At the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month of 1918, the First World War ended: that date, that time, have become a symbolic moment on which to pause in silent remembrance and gratitude.

Surgeon Rear Admiral Lionel Jarvis CBE DL, President of the Poppy Factory, invited The Duke and Duchess of Sussex to lay crosses of remembrance in front of two wooden crosses from the Graves of Unknown British soldiers from the First and Second World Wars. RAdm Jarvis also laid a cross on behalf of HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, Patron of the Poppy Factory.

Last Post was sounded from the parapet of St Margaret’s Church by a bandsman of the Scots Guards. After the observance of two minutes' silence, the Royal party toured the Field meeting veterans, representatives of military organisations and members of the public who had planted a cross in memory of their fallen comrades and loved ones.

Among those attending this year's ceremony were veterans of the Normandy landings, marking 75 years since D-Day. Joseph Randall, 96, served as a Corporal in the Royal Air Force constructing advanced landing grounds with 5022 Squadron Airfield Construction Branch, and was 20 years old on D-Day. He said:

It was really important for me to be here today to remember together all those that served and sacrificed from across the Commonwealth and Allied Forces as they helped to liberate France in 1944.

The Field of Remembrance will remain open until Sunday 17th November. Members of the public are invited to lay their own crosses, and proceeds from the Field will be given to the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal.


Video: Opening of the Field of Remembrance 2019

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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.

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