Her Majesty The Queen attends Abbey Somme Service
Thursday, 30th June 2016
Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh attended a Service and Vigil on the Eve of the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme at Westminster Abbey on Thursday 30th June 2016.
The service was also attended by the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable David Cameron MP, and Mrs Cameron.
The service was conducted by the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster, who said in his Bidding:
The Battle of the Somme was an offensive by the British and French against the forces of Germany. The battle lasted almost five months. No more than six miles of German-held territory were regained. On all sides there were a million casualties, killed or wounded.
This evening, we seek to recall the experience of those waiting to go into battle. This whole night will be a time of vigil; a watch will be maintained at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, changing every quarter of an hour, and representing all the forces involved in the Battle. The watch will conclude at 7.30 am when, a hundred years ago, whistles were blown to signal the moment of advance.
Tonight we shall remember the courage and the sacrifice of those preparing to face their enemy, and we shall pray that we may continue to learn the lessons of history to build a world at peace.
Luke Thompson, actor, read A Trench Narrative written by Second Lieutenant Jocelyn Buxton (1896-1916), 6th Battalion, The Rifle Brigade, who was killed in action on the first day of the Somme.
Brigadier Timothy Hodgetts CBE, Medical Director, Defence Medical Services, read Romans 8: 35-39.
The Address was given by the Right Reverend and Right Honourable Dr Richard Chartres KCVO, Bishop of London and Dean of Her Majesty's Chapels Royal.