EMPIRE'S HOUR OF
THE CENOTAPH AND THE
(HIOX OUR CORRESPONDENT.)
LOKDON, 15th November.
No celebration of Armistice Day has been more wonderfully impressive than that of last Sunday. The crowds were a record, and this fact is astonishing, inasmuch as there are not the same facilities for transit on Sunday mornings as there-are on weekdays. The doors of the Abbey openedat 9 o'clock, for ticketholdei'B to the sepciar service' at 10.30; and thoroughfare in Whitehall was becoming congested at the same early hour, for all. who came to this part naturally made an effort to be as close to the Cenotaph as possible. Every church in the metropolis and suburbs had a special service, with record attendance.
In tke Abbey wer6 the Khy; and Princess Mary Viscountess Lascelles, the Dominions Prime Ministers, representatives of the Navy,. Army, and Air Force, and other privileged people. Tlie service, was profoundly touching in its simplicity. Humanity can draw no •closer"to things spiritual than on such wonderfully inspiring occasions, and after the period of silence the organ struck the familiar notes of the "Old Hundredth." In a brief address, the Dean of Westminster said, "Two thoughts are uppermost in our minds today—the power of sacrifice and the sanctity of brotherhood. The very stones you tread on in this place cover the clust of t those who made the Empire and lived, wrought, and died .for their fellowmen. The Unknown Warrior is our brother. He gave his life for us, and fnot in vahv. He lies Unknown indeed, but most renowned. To-day is not oiie of grief alone) It is a day for proud thanksgiving-'and a renewal of that covenant, of brotherhood of which the grave is the memorial and the pledge." The service concluded round the grave of the Unknown Warrior, the choir en route singing "The Supreme Sacrifice"; three short prayers were 'said, and the King with simple gesture laid on the stone a wreath of bay, bound with the poppies of Flanders, with the simple inscription : "In proud memory of those warriors who died unknown -in the Great War; unknown and yet well known; as dying, and behold they live Meorge Eil." At the head of the stone still lay the faded wreath which the lung had placed there in 1920, when the Unknown was.laid to rest. On a pillar hung the Congressional Medal, the supreme honour conferred on the Unknown by the United States, and overhead! hung a Union Jack. Facing the King, beyond the grave stood the Dean of West-' minster, with the clergy and choir. "The Recessional" \va s sung by the entire congregation, and the .Blessing was pronounced. Then the echoing notes of the 'Reveille," soundedxby Guards' buglers "l a distant chapel, swept through the Abbey, and the impressive service was over. Immediately after the departure of the King and Queen and Princess Mary, members of the Abbey, congregation passed by the grave, and then the doors were opened for the great pilgrimage of the vast multitude outside. This stream from Without continued till night-^ fall; it was renewed on Monday, and has v continued each day since.' And those who had been in the Abbey tried to get up to the Cenotaph. AT THE CENOTAPH. The morning was magnificently bright, if a little chill, but the tightly packed and swaying crowd did not feel the nip. There was too much to inter-est-thjm during their two hours of waiting, and when the brief service took place every one was .tense with pent-up emotion. On the Cenotaph the Colours had been renewed, and they fluttered in the breeze The great pageant had to be set, the troops had to take up their position. The thin line of police were nrst brought up, and then the approach of the military element was heralded in the distance hy the strains of "Land of ™Rf and Glory," played by the band of the Irish Guards ever growing nearer. They •were followed >by detachments of the .Royal Marines and a guard of bluejackets. "The Boys of the Old BriS fm?? e >iStitri?sl y from the direction ol Whitehall, and, wearing their bearsf"s, a"* long grey greatcoats, 500 men of the Brigade of Guards marched into the enclosure, and, four deep, lined the pavement on.the east side, of the memorial. Drawn across the broad roadway stood sixteen buglers of the Royal Marines, who were subsequently to sound the 'Reveille." .When aU was' ready nine minutes before the hour of eleven, the Prince of Wales and the $uke of York, walking side by side, came out of the door of the Home Office—the former in the uniform and grey overcoat of the Welsh Guards and thelatter in that of .the Ebyal Air Forces-descended the steps, followed by their equerries carrying wreaths and by Sir H. btreafeild and Sir M. Murray representing the Duke of Connaught and Queen Alexandra, and made their way to a spot on the north side of the Ce'no tapli, where the crest of .the Prince of Wales—white plumes on a black back-ground-painted on the road marked their staW Ate them, to be ranged in line before the Home Office facing the Cenotaph, came the Home Secretary, the Fust Lord of the Admiralty, the Secre tary of State for Air, with the repr^en'JT j° f tho D°mini°ns, the Colonies and India, and of Government Departments 'Sir James Allen among them Each bore a large floral trophy M T after reachin- his place, the Prince of Wales stepped forward and, taking it from the hands of hi s equerry^ placed a ] arg6 wreath °J chrysanthemums bound with scarlet poppies at the north side of the Cenotaph. ™rf it 7rf k Pi aced his Reside it, and then, followed those of' the Duke of Connaught and Q ueen Alexan dra. TWcame the Children and Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal, wrth the Chaplain, and Bishop of London wear! ing a purple Laudian cap and carrying h.s pastoral staff, bringing up the^a? In this group scarlet predominated and made a very brilliant colour patch, in contrast to the grey-coated Guards standing by.^ The Bishop took up his appointed stand-indicated by a painted mitre on the roadway—facing the Prince of Wales. It was nearly 11 o'clock, and now all_ was ready. Men bared their heads, Big Ben boomed forth the hour a distant gun was heard, and then the wondrous silence. Before it ended sobs were heard and tears flowed freely With wondrous effect the massed bands' some way off struck up the hymn "0 God Our Help m Ages Past"; the choir sang to this distant accompaniment-it appealed completely to the feeling that was in every heart. The Bishop said a short prayer, then came the clarion call of the ''Reveille" by the buglers of the Royal Marines. Thus ended the service which had lasted about seven minutes. A --^NEVER-ENDING PROCESSION. Presently all was ready for movement,5 * The crowd tried to disperse, having the Abbey in mind. The innumerable de-
putationa began to move slowly forward^ the police dividing"the" marchers into a double line on either side of the Cenotaph. Pathetic interest attached to the two blind men from St. Dunstan's, each with a beautiful trophy, who were led to» the spot to place the offering at the place i appointed. The marchers represented every body that cne could enumerate,Sind ' some of their tributes were of gigantic size, made of the choicest flowers, 9110 [.of the most striking being the remembrance of the British Empire Service Legion. A picturesque trio was made by the deputation from the French Leagueof Alsace-Lorraine, the'fliree'girls wearing national dress, with the huge black bows on their heads. They carried two tricolours and a handsome wreath. Three men were needed to, carry the enormous anchor of poppies which was ihe ideal ' of a driver, who, the day previous, sta* " tioned at Trafalgar Square, sold poppies, for- people to give to make this appropriate trophy; he collected the money ia a diver's headpiece. J'OLD BILL" /.."; %:,;.;., A platoon of the traffic staff >vOf. tha Underground, wearing the.ir war "service decorations, and representing pyei^aOjOCO ex-service men in the company's aSvice, inarched before and behind- "Old" Bill,"-' in its journey to the Cenotaph;. upon* which a wreath was' laid. Thie' famous, bus was present at the campaigns of Antwerp 1914, Yprcs 1915, Ancre 816, Somme 1917, Amiens 1918, and .was- inspected by the King after the Armistice. It might have been a "New Bill," Abitpassed by, for it was brilliant with -neV paint and altogether spick and span^pohshed as it never was intheMlieht,-"; as an observer hazarded. This veteran, was a mass of■ .Flanders poppies, surmounted by the Union Jack,"and if re-. I' ceived the acclamation of the spectators. T*e driver wore an imposing, array of ribbons, and the marchers before and behind were all similarly decorated. -Men, women, and children; in endless processions, passed by till dark,: 'and some \of the small children wore Daddy's" medals. Boy Scouts, Girl '\ Guides, platoons of men still-in hospital " blue, all filed by at th e> salute': ".' .". .. AN EMPIRE AT ATTENTION;': The Archbishop of Canterbury, at-St. " Paul's, on Armistice Day: "It haaieen well said, that the two minutes' silence of Armistice Day is like nothing eke; in the world. An Empire stands at .attention, its activities arrested, its. speech ' silenced, its thought concentrated,--not upon the victory won, or even ujJbiTthe warfare ended in. November, 1918, but ,upoii the men who gave-their'.lives to make this victory and p^eace a possibility, and upon what their supreme sacirlfico means for us to-day. Those whom jsveare now recalling are :—•- --;..;■...-;:..■> . . They that p"ut aside to-day ■ -"' All the joy of their: to-day^--X:.V And with toil of their to-day. : Bought for us To-morrow.-^ ■■' ''■ "But the last thing that they would have desired—or that we-should in .their ' honour desire—is . that our loqfc. this morning should turn backward-•rather than forward. We look back in" proud bereavement; we look outward and onward in deliberate hope. And now, as Armistice Day gives us pause, we .ask — :'• 'What have these five years brought'or won?' Do we, as we look - anxiously, round into the Europe or the Britain of to-day^ feel simply disillusioned, disappointed, perhaps even soured? Such" depression is- not perhaps wonderful, as .we stand aghast at the European' confusion, arid bewildered by the malignant spectre of the unemployment which darkens .bur home sky. We lose heai-t. There 'ia danger of sheer pessimism. But-it must not, shall not, really be. Disillusioned, yes, if we imagined, as perhaps some ' of us did, that when once the guns were silent and the ships were no longer in battle array we should pass simply- and at once into a condition" of equilibrium, and could set to work quietly and u'nin-, terruptedly to repair our ills* and to 'go ' forward.' That was all wrong. Darkness has fallen for a time—for a time— on many bright hopes conceived during the war. But even that darkness has its gleam of good. It presses home upon the world the horrible aecursedness of war." SACRIFICES MUST NOT BE ';■' FORGOTTEN: ' >:.. ,;y Mr. Massey thus spoke after, ..the, . Abbey service: "I have never seen1 any;- . thing so impressive as the celebration, of Armi;itice Day to-day—first, -.the orderly crowds in the streets, then the ,■ service in the Abbey, where lies' the' Unknown Warrior with the greatest of Britain's dead. The Abbey service "was solemn in its simplicity, especially tha two minutes' silence, which has.become, part of the permanent ceremonial', throughout the Empire for -Armistice Day.. In the streets, under, a. blue- sky. and a shining but wintry sun,' how im- " pressive was the scene of the multitudes wending their way to the Cenotaph, vound which huge piles of magnificent flowers testified to the love of relatives and friends for the gallant men who died doing their duty! ■■..-..■'..• "In every part of the Empire there are vacant chairs left by the men whom •. we mourn to-day, .but maiTy. of the mourners will be like unto a New Zea-* land mother to whom it was my duty to write a letter of sympathy on the loss of her sons, and whose proud answermight be condensed in these iwords :> 'I thank God wlio. xgave.-me. men for sons.' The sacrifices made in the Great War must not be forgotten. ; Our ; nien have not died for nought, if' ever, the necessity arises their example will be followed by others willing.to.giver their lives in the same great cause."' . FLOWERS BOUGHT BY THE KING AND QUEEN. ' < - Flanders.poppies, which were on sale throughout the country on Saturday, Remembrance Day,- in aid of ; Lord Haig's appeal for ex-service men,-were' purchased by the King and Queen,- who were shopping in Bond street." 'A« Their Majesties alighted from theur'qar the Queen, noticing one v of the flower-^ sellers, expressed a wish to 'buy-a poppy, and both she and the King "purchased a flower, for Which they paid with Treasury notes. .'■■■■■ ■-.-- Thousands of girls and women were on duty in the streets of London..at an early hour . selling the flowers. ■'Over twenty-five million of/ the poppies ;had been made for sale, and the organisers" • hoped to raise a quarter of a million1 pounds to alleviate distress in ex-service '. men's homes. Princess Alice had a stall for the sale of poppies outside Windsor Castle. FORTUNATE NEW ZEALAsNDERS. Sir James Allen was allotted by the Abbey authorities 17 seats for distribution among. New Zealanders. \The'following accordingly were present at-the Armistice Day service:—Sir. .John.", JJo;})- v crts, Mrs. G. Roberts, Colonel the H6n. W. E. Collins and Mrs. Collins,-Lieuten-ant-Colonel N. Fitzherbert, C:M:G:,"the Hon. Arthur M. Myers and M.'rs.n.My&'s, Mr. and Mrs. R. S. Forsyth,'-Mrs/-Hope Lewis, Mrs. Guy Williams, -Mrs.--A~'A. Martin, Mrs. W. G. Malone, 'Mr.".Malone, Mrs. H. A. Massey, Miss MasseS', and. Mrs. Malcolm Ross. -■ - ' To view the proceedings at the Cenotaph from the ■windows of the Colonial ':' Office the High Commissioner was allotted invitations for ten.,, .Those present were: Mr. and Mrs. P. A. M'Hardv Mr. and-Mrs. R.-Prowß-Broad^^r&'cV Earle, Mrs. -"E. K. Mulgah, Mrs. Georgei 1 Harris, Miss N. Alexander, anor.'Mi&" JC I Ludbrook, . v ."' ; .
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FIFTH ANNIVERSARY, Evening Post, Volume CVII, Issue 7, 9 January 1924
FIFTH ANNIVERSARY Evening Post, Volume CVII, Issue 7, 9 January 1924
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