The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the Chairman of the London Assembly, Tony Arbour AM, joined Assembly Members, representatives of the British Armed Forces and other special guests today at a service of remembrance for those who have lost their lives fighting for their country.
The service took place ahead of Armistice Day (11 November) and this year marked 100 years since the end of the First World War.
The ceremony was led by The Dean of Southwark, The Very Reverend Andrew Nunn, and attended by members of the armed forces as well as veterans, faith leaders, politicians and representatives from various charities, including the Royal British Legion and the Red Cross. It also included prayers by members of the Sikh, Hindu, Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths.
There was an address by The Rt. Revd and Rt. Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, Bishop of London. The Mayor and Tony Arbour joined others in laying wreaths in memory of those who have lost their lives in war.
In memory of the 3 million soldiers and labourers from across the Empire and Commonwealth who served alongside the British Army, I had the great privilege of reading the poem ‘ The Gift of India’ written in 1915 by the Indian poet Sarojini Naidu.
Ahead of the ceremony, the Mayor and Chairman of the Assembly opened City Hall’s new London Remembrance Gallery. The gallery will become a permanent memorial as part of the World War One centenary commemorations, as well as a space to remember all who have lost their lives in conflict. The London Remembrance Gallery will also feature a permanent plaque containing an excerpt from the poem ‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon.
In collaboration with the London Bridge branch of the Royal British Legion, a temporary art installation featuring a scarlet ‘cloud’ of 48,000 poppies suspended across the gallery ceiling, was unveiled in memory of those who have lost their lives.
City Hall is also hosting an exhibition of stories from those who have been impacted by war from across London’s 32 boroughs and the City of London. The display has been produced with the support of the Museum of London.
Chairman of the London Assembly, Tony Arbour AM, spoke for all Assembly Members when he said:
“Although the Armistice was a hundred years ago, the scale of the disaster and the heroism of those who fought and died is very real.
“This Gallery demonstrates this, as do the many memorials right across our great City.
“I have been particularly struck by the recognition that those who gave their lives were just like us.
“They lived in our streets, they went to our schools and they drank in our pubs.
“So long as we celebrate this national memory, as we do today, they truly will ‘grow not old’.”
‘We Will Remember’