Seamen remember their war dead as a bell tolls by the Tower of London
- Credit: Archant
Hundreds of people stood in silence at the seamen’s memorial by the Tower of London as a nearby church bell tolled the 11th hour to mark the moment the guns fell silent.
Yesterday’s annual remembrance at Tower Hill was one of many up and down the country marking the Armistice on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when the Great War ended in 1918 and to commemorate the Second World War and all other conflicts.
They included seven commemorations in London’s East End, at Bethnal Green Gardens, Tower Hamlets Cemetery in Mile End, St George’s-in-the-East at Shadwell, St Anne’s at Limehouse and at the Isle of Dogs, all at the same time as The Queen laying a wreath at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.
This year’s service at Tower Hill was the first attended by Tower Hamlets’ new mayor John Biggs after his election in June and the council’s new chief executive Will Tuckley who joined last month filling a two-year vacancy at the Town Hall.
“There are many people in our community who still live with the consequences today of war through the generations,” Mayor Biggs later told the East London Advertiser.
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“It’s vital that the next generation remembers as well—we live in this pop culture media sort of age where everything is instantaneous and painless, but the reality is that life is more difficult than that.
“People in the East End have come from all parts of the world that are still ravaged by war and conflict.
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“We need to respect the sacrifice that people make.”
He was in the front row of VIPs at Trinity Square with the Speaker of the council Mohammed Mukit—his second year at the service in the role—and Commander John Ludgate, deputy Lieutenant General representing the Queen in Tower Hamlets.
Cllr Mukit said afterwards: “The history of conflict is important for the new generation.
“If the history is forgotten, they forget their roots.
“So youngsters have to know what happened in the two world wars and how previous generations gave their lives for the nation.
“All over the world there is still fighting, people risking their lives for the peace and harmony of the world.”
The service, staged by The Honourable Company of Master Mariners, began with a march by Royal Navy cadets from HMS President naval base at Wapping, followed by RAF cadets.
Prayers were read after a Royal Navy bugler sounded The Last Post, then the crowd—including many families with “new generation” children—joined in hymns and anthems to remember our war dead, following the two minutes’ silence when the church bell at All Hallows-by-The-Tower tolled for the 11th hour.