11:06 PM 11th November 2023
His Majesty The King To Unite Nation In Annual Two-Minute Silence To Remember Fallen Heroes
In the first Remembrance Sunday service since the Coronation in May of this year, His Majesty The King will be joined by Members of The Royal Family, the Prime Minister, senior politicians, defence chiefs and faith leaders to mark the Armistice of the First World War and all other conflicts involving British and Commonwealth forces.
Around 10,000 veterans and 800 Armed Forces personnel members from all three services will march past the Cenotaph on Sunday, with thousands more members of the public expected to line Whitehall in London to pay their respects.
Remembrance Sunday is a time of extraordinary unity as communities gather to remember all those who have died on our behalf and tens of thousands of Armed Forces personnel will take part in Remembrance services and events across the country and around the world, including on operations overseas. The National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph will be broadcast live by the BBC and Sky News.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
"The courage and commitment shown by our servicemen and women, both today and throughout the generations that came before them, is humbling and I know many across the country will be honouring their memory today in quiet reflection.
"Recent events have served as a stark reminder that we cannot take the hard-earned peace we live in for granted, which is why I am honoured to lay a wreath on behalf of the nation in the memory of all those that have lost their lives defending our country and the values we hold so close.
"I am determined to ensure we never forget the ultimate sacrifice they have made."
Of the 9,910 individuals marching this year, 304 different Armed Forces and civilian organisations will be represented, as well as around 300 veterans not affiliated with an association, who have been invited by The Royal British Legion to march for the first time. Those marching will also include Nuclear Test Veterans who for the first time, will wear a medal acknowledging their important service. The Nuclear Test Medal was announced by the Prime Minister in November 70 years after the first British test of a nuclear weapon, and recognises military, civilian, and overseas staff and personnel who participated in Britain’s nuclear testing programme in the 1950s and 1960s.
Among those marching will be people of all ages – from 100-year-old Second World War veterans through to children of servicemen and women who have died in conflict, with the youngest marcher being just eight years old.
Many of those marching will reflect particularly on conflicts which mark a major anniversary this year, such as the 70th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Agreement and the 20th anniversary of the start of the UK’s military operations in Iraq.
Among the hundreds of Armed Forces personnel on parade at the Cenotaph will be Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin and the service chiefs of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force.
Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said:
"As the nation comes together to remember all those who died serving their country, we remember with gratitude the sacrifices of the entire Armed Forces community and thank all those in uniform who protect our country and its way of life.”
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said:
"For the men and women that gave their today for our tomorrow. For the generations before that fought for the freedom of the generation after. For those who stood up, fought for and died to protect our values - today we thank and remember them. I encourage everyone, no matter where you are, to join us in a national two-minute silence in memory of those who served our country."
Remembrance also reminds us of our solemn responsibility to support the entire Armed Forces community all year round. The Office for Veterans’ Affairs has been leading government efforts to make the UK the best country in the world to be a veteran. This includes launching Op FORTITUDE, a new housing pathway earlier this year, and Op COURAGE, a dedicated mental healthcare pathway.
The Defence Secretary has also made it his personal priority to ensure serving personnel are properly supported during their time on active duty. This week the Ministry of Defence will announce the roll out of more than £400 million of improvements to living accommodation for service personnel, including upgrades to more than 4,000 military homes.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Rt Hon. Johnny Mercer MP, said:
"Today we remember those who sacrificed so much for our country and the freedoms we enjoy.
"20 years after the start of the Iraq War, I know that during the two minute’s silence at eleven o’clock, I will be remembering in particular those veterans of that conflict, and the contribution they made.
"This year is also particularly poignant, as it is the first year our Nuclear Test Veterans will march past the Cenotaph with their new medal."
Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said:
"At the Cenotaph, around the country and on operations overseas, members of the Armed Forces will pause to remember all those who have died in service of their country. The legacy of the fallen lives on in the dedication and duty of today’s Armed Forces."
Philippa Rawlinson, Director of Remembrance at the Royal British Legion said:
"Remembrance is about bringing communities and individuals together to honour the sacrifices of the Armed Forces community, past and present.
"This year, 60 years on, we are remembering the extraordinary contribution of the millions of National Servicemen conscripted during the post-war years, as well as the sacrifices made by those who served in the Korean War 70 years ago. We also mark the 75th anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush and the contribution of the Windrush generation, who travelled from the Caribbean to help rebuild Britain after the Second World War.
"Our Armed Forces make sacrifices every day so we can enjoy our freedoms and way of life. This weekend we encourage people to take a moment to reflect and remember their service."