Armistice Day 2017 commemorations

IN PICTURES: Millions Fall Silent On Armistice Day To Remember War Dead

Armistice Day 2017 commemorations

Millions of people have fallen silent on Armistice Day to remember those who died in the nation's wars and conflicts.

Events have been held across the country to mark the 99th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

In London, Big Ben, which has not tolled since vital repairs began in August, chimed at the stroke of 11am marking the start of a two-minute silence on Saturday.

There has also been a service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, while mourners and dignitaries gathered at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, led by the Duke of Gloucester:

Services took place across the country in places like the National Memorial Arboretum, where veterans of all ages gathered in a visual reminder of the UK's near-constant involvement in conflicts beyond the end of the Second World War, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Among those remembering, 99-year-old Les Cherrington, of the Staffordshire Yeomanry Queen's Own Royal Regiment, who was the sole survivor from his tank crew in the North African desert in 1943.

Mr Cherrington's Sherman tank was left a flaming wreck by a German field gun, but he managed to clamber free despite being badly burned and shrapnel nearly severing his left arm.

After almost bleeding to death overnight in a slit trench, he was believed to be among the dead by a New Zealand soldier who came across him and only realised his mistake when Les shouted "water!"

Mr Cherrington, originally from Albrighton, Staffordshire, said of his lost pals: "I think more today of the mates I lost, and their families, than I do myself.

"I thank God every day that I'm still here."

Another group of Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters veterans, who served in the Malayan Emergency in the 1950s, were among those paying a personal tribute, laying a wreath at one of the many memorials dotted about the arboretum's 150-acre site, to the 21 friends they lost in the jungles of Sarawak.

Remembrance Day In The Air

Veterans, military personnel and relatives of those who died in conflict marked the two-minute silence on board the world's tallest moving observation tower (452ft or 138m), the British Airways i360 in Brighton.

The 30-minute trip looked out on to part of the beach in front of the West Pier where Captain Ken Revis, of the Royal Engineers, lost his sight during the Second World War while defusing mines.

While he survived, thousands of others around the country died carrying out such tasks.

Paul Hull, a veteran from the Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Unit, decided to take to the skies, gliding up on the tower to remember Mr Revis.

He said: "I had the pleasure to meet him when I was younger and he inspired me.

"I took the flight to remember him as we rose into the air over the spot where he was injured, and the many others who were killed when they were clearing mines on the beaches.

"It was very moving. I've often thought it would be nice to have a memorial there (on the beach below) for them."

In September 1943, Mr Revis was asked to "delouse" the two piers in Brighton.

He had no difficulty with the Palace Pier, and then approached the West Pier by rowing boat. Avoiding the ladder, he climbed on to the structure and defused six mines using a map.

But then 13 mines exploded. When he regained consciousness, he could not see anything and there were deep wounds to his forehead.

Sergeant Gio Bond, detachment commander 1 Brighton with the Sussex Army Cadet Force, brought 45 cadets to take part in the Armistice Day flight. Dressed in uniform, they lined the windows of the glass pod and saluted as the mark of respect concluded.

He said: "They have been poppy collecting all week - which is an important part of their role in supporting the military. This was a treat for them and a way to mark Remembrance in a different way."

The viewing tower's lights have been turned red in honour.

The Annual Festival Of Remembrance

In the evening, the Queen was joined by thousands of veterans at the annual Festival of Remembrance.

The event, organised by the Royal British Legion, also celebrated its the 90th anniversary.

Among the acts performing were singers Mel C, Emeli Sande, Tom Odell, Lesley Garrett and Alfie Boe, alongside hymns, prayers and readings.

The First World War battle of Passchendaele was remembered, and there was also recognition for those who helped in the Caribbean in the last summer's hurricane season, when thousands were left without homes in Commonwealth nations and British overseas territories.

There was also praise for service personnel and civilian services who came to the aid of the injured in the terrorist attacks at London Bridge and in Manchester this year.

A special tribute was held in honour of former Forces' Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn, who celebrated her 100th birthday this year.

Around The World

Meanwhile, Australians have also observed a minute silence to remember their dead.

The country's Sydney Opera House was lit up with red poppies.

Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian prime minister, joined his New Zealand counterpart, Jacinda Ardern, in Vietnam - where the APEC summit is underway - to attend a service of remembrance. He said:

"We remember every ANZAC serviceman and woman who has made the supreme sacrifice to keep our two countries free."

Related topics

Join Our Newsletter


Military readiness tested in large earthquake simulation in Cyprus

Indian air force joins the RAF's BIGGEST exercise for first time

UK Challenger 2s plough through blizzards during testing training