Abbey to mark Warrior centenary

Thursday, 29th October 2020

Abbey to mark Warrior centenary

Westminster Abbey will mark the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior with a special service on Armistice Day, Wednesday 11th November. The service will be broadcast live on BBC One, and include the national two-minute silence at 11:00 am.

The service will commemorate the funeral of an unknown British serviceman, the Unknown Warrior, whose body was brought from Northern France and buried at the west end of the nave on 11th November 1920 to represent all those who lost their lives in the First World War but whose place of death was not known, or whose bodies remained unidentified.

The idea for the burial came from a chaplain at the Western Front, the Reverend David Railton who wrote to the then Dean of Westminster, Herbert Ryle who strongly supported the idea at the highest level with King George V, and the then Prime Minister David Lloyd George.

The special service on the Centenary of the Burial will be led by the Dean of Westminster, The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, and will include an Address from the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby. The service will be sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey, and the Band of the Grenadier Guards will also perform. The Padre’s flag, the Union flag given to the Abbey by David Railton and which covered the Warrior’s coffin at his funeral, will play a central role in the service.

Live coverage from the Abbey will be presented by Huw Edwards on BBC One from 10:30am – 11:45am during a programme which will also celebrate the centenary of the unveiling of the Cenotaph. BBC Two will screen highlights in the evening.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, attendance at the service will be by invitation only.