Today marks Armistice Day, the 105th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Acts of Remembrance will take place up and down the country this morning.
The Armistice, an agreement to end the fighting of the First World War as a prelude to peace negotiations, began at 11am on 11 November 1918. Armistice is Latin for to stand (still) arms.
To this day we mark Armistice Day around the United Kingdom with a Two Minute Silence at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month. The Last Post will sound and be followed by a two-minute silence, as we remember all those lost in conflict.
Held each year at 11am on 11 November, the silence coincides with the time in 1918 at which the First World War came to an end and is observed at war memorials and in public places throughout the UK and Commonwealth. Armistice Day has been observed every year since 1919 with a two-minute silence.
Many will mark the occasion with a reading of In Flanders Fields, the war poem written by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. He was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres. It was first published on December 8, 1915 and is one of the most quoted poems from the First World War.
In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
National Service of Remembrance: Sunday 12 November 2023
How you can take part in the commemorations.
On Sunday 12 November, the National Service of Remembrance will be held at the Cenotaph on Whitehall, London.
Starting at 11am, the service will commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women involved in the two world wars and later conflicts.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) coordinates the event, alongside colleagues from across government, the armed forces and veterans’ organisations.
Attending in person
No tickets or passes are needed for the event, and the public are welcome to watch the ceremony from the pavements along Whitehall and Parliament Street. However, entry may be limited if the area becomes full. There will be video screens north of the Cenotaph, near the green directly in front of the statue of Field Marshal Montgomery, and in the lay-by outside Dover House (between Horse Guards and Downing Street) and close to the junction of Whitehall Place. There is also a screen south of the Cenotaph on the corner of King Charles Street.
Space will be available for wheelchair users and other spectators who might find it difficult to view from the general public areas. This area is located on the west side of Parliament Street, close to the junction with King Charles Street. Space in this enclosure will be offered on a first-come, first-serve, basis. One carer or guest per person will also be admitted and a toilet for those with accessibility needs will be available nearby.
If you are thinking of attending the service in London, please note the event schedule below:
08:00: Whitehall opens to the public. Space will be limited. Please allow time to clear the police security procedures.
From 10:30: All detachments form up on the Cenotaph.
From 10:50: Participants process out onto the Cenotaph.
11:00: National two-minute silence marked by the firing of guns from King’s Troop on Horse Guards Parade. Cenotaph Service commences.
11:25: Cenotaph Service concludes and the Royal British Legion detachments disperse past the Cenotaph.
Order of March
See this year’s Royal British Legion Order of March for the Cenotaph March Past.
Order of service
- There is an extensive policing security operation in place on the day. Please allow plenty of time for clearance through police security checks.
- Please do not bring large bags. Those with multiple or complex openings or cases will delay yours and others entry into the public viewing areas.
- Please note that the unauthorised use of any drones (including quadcopters/helicopters) in this area and the roads surrounding Whitehall is strictly prohibited at all times.
- Please be aware that stations close to the service and surrounding areas will likely be busy before and after the service times.
- Plan your journey using the Transport for London and National Rail Enquiries websites.
- Check Transport for London status updates and National Rail Enquiries latest travel information before you travel
- Find up-to-date travel information by following National Rail Enquiries on X (formally Twitter) or downloading the TfL Go app.
Watching the event from home
- You can watch the event on television on the BBC, Sky and ITV.
- Follow DCMS on social media and YouTube for highlights from the Service in London.
During the Poppy Appeal and all year round, the Royal British Legion provides support for members of the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force, veterans and their families.
By making a donation, you could help those in need within our Armed Forces community.
How to donate:
Call the friendly fundraising support team on 0345 845 1945 to make a donation by phone.
To donate £2 text POPPY2 to 70545*
To donate £5 text POPPY5 to 70545*
To donate £10 text POPPY10 to 70545*
*Texts cost £2, £5, or £10 plus your standard network rate. We receive 100% of your donation.
The Royal British Legion will contact you by text on the mobile number you used to allow you to let us know how you would like to be contacted in the future and to find out whether you would like to add Gift Aid to your donation.
Please print off a donation form and return to Royal British Legion, Supporter Care, Haig House 199 High Borough Street, London SE1 1AA.
Or visit the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Shop.