Thursday, 11 November 2010

Armistice Day and Gloster Valley

Today is Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day as it is often known. At 11am (11.15 at Nonsuch) people will pause to reflect on the sacrifices made by British and Commonwealth soldiers (and the many civilians killed) in a century of conflicts. This year's ceremonies have a particular pertinence as the mark the 90th anniversary of the dedication of the Cenotaph, the country's official memorial to its war dead in Whitehall, and the Tomb of the Unknown Solider in Westminster Abbey. You can read more about how the soldier was selected and laid to rest in the abbey here and watch a short film about the Cenotaph, shown above.

PS: David Cameron (shown above with Julia Gillard) has marked Armistice Day by visiting Gloster Valley in Korea, where he has laid a wreath to commemorate the sacrifices of British soldiers at the Battle of Imjin River (more archive material here) in the Korean War. Against vastly superior Chinese forces, the soldiers put up a strong resistance defending their position - 59 died and 526 were taken prisoner. This resistance delayed the Chinese advance, preventing them from outflanking the United Nations forces. The cemetery is a very moving, evocative place, and it is very appropriate that the Prime Minister was able to acknowledge the sacrifices that British soliders made during this largely "forgotten" war.

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