Hundreds stand in silent tribute as bell tolls at Trinity Square to remember the Fallen
PUBLISHED: 16:44 13 November 2016 | UPDATED: 16:54 13 November 2016
London's East End joined the nation today to remember the fallen from The Great War on the 11th hour this morning and from all other conflicts.
Several hundred spectators watched and stood silent at 11am at the Merchant Navy War Memorial at Trinity Square on Tower Hill, as The Last Post was sounded.
Officers and ratings from the Royal Navy’s HMS President base nearby in Wapping led a march past of Service veterans together with Naval, RAF and Met Police cadets.
A bell tolled from All Hallows-by-the-Tower as Trinity Square fell silent.
It marked the moment when the Armistice began, when the guns fell silent in 1918 at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs joined the Met Police borough commander, Chief Supt Sue Williams, along with the Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London Leslie Morgan and other senior local authority figures to lay wreaths for those who never returned from war.
The Trinity Square service opposite the Tower of London ran simultaneously with the Remembrance at The Cenotaph in Whitehall where the Queen led the commemorations with Prime Minister Theresa May and other Parliamentary party leaders.
The Queen laid the first wreath, followed by other members of the Royal Family and senior politicians.
Both Trinity Square and The Cenotaph were among Sunday Remembrance services up and down the country marking Armistice to remember the fallen in the two world wars and all other military conflicts.
Other services in London’s East End were held at Bethnal Green Gardens, Christchurch Isle of Dogs, St Anne’s Limehouse and Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park at Mile End.
East End MP Rushanara Ali also raised the issue in Parliament earlier this week of health care for those who leave the Armed Forces who have survived today’s conflicts.
She has pressed the Government on its “duty of care” for the mental health of military veterans as part of this year’s Poppy Appeal.
Their health care transfers from the Military to the NHS when they leave the Services. But only half of those experiencing mental health problems actually seek help.
The Bethnal Green and Bow MP pressed Defence Minister Mark Lancaster in the Commons on Monday to “make sure veterans actually receive treatment”.
She asked the Minister: “What monitoring is being done, given the fragmentation in the Health Service, to make sure that veterans actually receive the treatment that they require?
“The Armed Forces covenant makes it clear that veterans have distinct health needs and should receive priority treatment.”
Common problems veterans face include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, anxiety and substance abuse which leads to a higher risk of social exclusion, homelessness and even suicide.
Rushanara is urging more to be done to help them.
She later told the East London Advertiser: “Many veterans suffer tremendous mental health problems and the government must ensure that the NHS is doing all it can to offer them the professional help they need and deserve.”
The Royal British Legion asked supporters in this year’s Poppy Appeal to “rethink Remembrance” to recognise the sacrifices by today’s generation as well as those of the past.
The first Poppy Appeal in 1921, the founding year of The British Legion, raised £106,000 with red silk poppies inspired by the famous First World War poem In Flanders Fields. The funds helped veterans of the 1914-18 Great War find employment and housing “fit for heroes”.
But the thoughts at Trinity Square today was for those who never survived who lost their lives to safeguard the freedoms of today, those who “shall not grow old”, whose “age shall not weary them nor the years condemn”.
Trinity Square and the East End stood silently, to remember them.