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Wreath cast upon Thames in Armistice Day tribute

PUBLISHED: 15:00 11 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:13 05 October 2010

Maj Gen Cima... casting the wreath

Maj Gen Cima... casting the wreath

THE vessel that carried Sir Winston Churchill's coffin on its last journey on the Thames 44 years ago was back on the river this-morning for a soulful Remembrance service on board. Maj Gen Keith Cima cast a wreath of poppies onto the water opposite the Houses of Parliament as Big Ben struck 11

By Mike Brooke, Pictures: Olivia Harris

THE vessel that carried Sir Winston Churchill’s coffin on its last journey on the Thames 44 years ago was back on the river this-morning for a soulful Remembrance service on board.

Maj Gen Keith Cima cast a wreath of poppies onto the water opposite the Houses of Parliament as Big Ben struck 11.

The Havengore arrived at the head of a flotilla of small vessels for the Armistice service, sailing upriver from St Katharine’s Pier by the Tower of London.

It was the same route it took in the State funeral of Winston Churchill, Britain’s wartime leader, in January 1965.

The service stopped briefly as Big Ben chimed 11, for a two-minute silence as the nation remembered those who fell in two world wars.

The silence was broken by a bugler sounding The Last Post as Maj Gen Cima threw the wreath onto the water.

Armistice Day, when the guns fell silent in the Great War on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, took on a special significance this year.

The last British serviceman alive to see active service at the Front was Henry Allingham, originally from Clapton in East London, who died earlier this year at 113.

The Rev Roger Hall, padre of the Tower of London who conducted the service on the Havengore, said: “This is a watershed moment. It is the first year there are no First World War veterans left, a year in which we now also remember the troops fighting in Afghanistan.”

Spectators who lined the Embankment and Westminster Bridge for a glimpse the Havengore heard the service being relayed on loud-speakers.

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