On Thursday 11th November, we support Australian veterans and their families. A Defence Force Bugler will play The Last Post.
We are delighted to announce our collaboration with RSL Defence Care, an organisation dedicated to the welfare of war veterans.
We will be hosting a small ceremony on Shipwright Walk, between Tower One and Tower Two, where ‘The Last Post’ will be played, and we’ll be encouraged to observe a minute of silence at 11am on the day.
More about Remembrance Day
For those unfamiliar with the origins or meaning of Remembrance Day, it’s a memorial day observed in Commonwealth member states since the end of the First World War to remember members of the armed forces who died in service. The Australian War Memorial has published a wonderful description of the day’s history:
“At 11 am on 11 November 1918 the guns on the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare. The allied armies had driven the German invaders back, having inflicted heavy defeats upon them over the preceding four months. In November the Germans called for an armistice (suspension of fighting) in order to secure a peace settlement. They accepted allied terms that amounted to unconditional surrender."
The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month attained a special significance in the post-war years. The moment when hostilities ceased on the Western Front became universally associated with the remembrance of those who had died in the war. This first modern world conflict had brought about the mobilisation of over 70 million people and left between nine and 13 million dead, perhaps as many as one-third of them with no known grave. The allied nations chose this day and time for the commemoration of their war dead.
The very first Remembrance Day
On the first anniversary of the armistice in 1919, two minutes' silence was instituted as part of the main commemorative ceremony at the new Cenotaph in London. The silence was proposed by Australian journalist Edward Honey, who was working in Fleet Street. At about the same time, a South African statesman made a similar proposal to the British Cabinet, which endorsed it. King George V personally requested all the people of the British Empire to suspend normal activities for two minutes on the hour of the armistice, "which stayed the worldwide carnage of the four preceding years and marked the victory of Right and Freedom". The two minutes silence was popularly adopted and it became a central feature of commemorations on Armistice Day.
After the end of the Second World War, the Australian and British governments changed the name to Remembrance Day. Armistice Day was no longer an appropriate title for a day which would commemorate all war dead.
Celebrating the 'Unknown Soldier'
In Australia on the 75th anniversary of the armistice on Remembrance Day 1993, ceremonies again became the focus of national attention. The remains of an unknown Australian soldier, exhumed from a First World War military cemetery in France, were ceremonially entombed in the Memorial's Hall of Memory. Remembrance Day ceremonies were conducted simultaneously in towns and cities all over the country, culminating at the moment of burial at 11am and coinciding with the traditional two minutes silence. This ceremony, which touched a chord across the Australian nation, re-established Remembrance Day as a significant day of commemoration.
Four years later, in 1997, Governor-General Sir William Deane issued a proclamation formally declaring 11 November to be Remembrance Day, urging all Australians to observe one minute silence at 11am on 11 November each year, "to remember those who died or suffered for Australia's cause in all wars and armed conflicts.”