The Queen led the nation in marking Remembrance Sunday in central London yesterday, as people across south east London marked the day at smaller ceremonies and privately at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As Bromley’s Mayor put it, “many will remember from the quietness of their own home this year and by supporting virtually,” and large numbers joined in with a national 2-minute silence, many from their own doorsteps.
Greenwich Council was among those to replace longer ceremonies with stripped-back wreath laying in small groups of six.
David Randall, Branch Chairman of Royal British Legion Thamesmead & Abbey Wood Branch said: “At this time of great disruption to us all, it is important that we all take a few minutes of our time to remember all service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defending the free world and those who continue to serve in our Armed Forces today.”
Meanwhile, The 94-year-old monarch was joined by family members and the Prime Minister in commemorating the nation’s war dead at the scaled-back service at the Cenotaph in London.
The Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge, Princess Royal and Earl of Wessex laid wreaths at the ceremony, which was held outdoors with guests required to observe social distancing.
The public were unable to attend this year, with the event taking place during a second national lockdown in England, and were instead encouraged to take part in the two-minute silence at 11am at home.
In other years, Whitehall is usually packed with thousands of veterans and military, but on Sunday less than 30 veterans were in attendance.
Below is a summary of the events and photos marking a Remembrance Sunday like no other in south east London.
A memorial parade was held in Biggin Hill on Sunday, and it was a poignant day for Lilly Lou Francis and her family.
The seven-year-old attended wearing her mum’s grenadier guards outfit, made by her grandad who was a grenadier guard.
“It was lovely to see she can wear it and show her respects on Remembrance Sunday,” said Samantha.
A stripped-back service with extensive Covid-19 safety measures was held at the Petts Wood Garden of Remembrance.
Social distancing paths, barriers in the area of the war memorial and a gazebo housing a signing in table, PPE, sanitiser, and temperature checks made sure the event was Covid-secure.
The service and wreath laying was led by the Petts Wood Royal British Legion.
The sun was shining on a peaceful scene when Martin Leonard, Lay Preacher from Christ Church URC, conducted the service.
Trumpeter, John Major played the Last Post (and Reveille) and Branch Chairman, Bob Shepherd recited the Exhortation.
Two minutes silence was observed followed by Paula Ferguson, Poppy Appeal Organiser, reciting the Kohima Prayer. Cllr Simon Fawthrop, represented the Mayor of Bromley and laid a wreath on the memorial, followed by representatives of local organisations and youth groups.
In all 21 wreaths were laid. This was followed by the poem, ‘Remembrance’ by Frank Osborn, read by Emma Ferguson representing the youth groups.
Crayford, Erith and Bexley Village
The Mayor of Bexley, Cllr James Hunt, led wreath laying ceremonies across the borough to “make sure we did all we could to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
“We visited Crayford with MP David Evennett, Bexley Village with MP James Brokenshire and Erith with Cllr Dan Francis representing MP Abena Oppong-Asare.”
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>It was a privilege & honour to join the <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/RemembranceDay?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#RemembranceDay</a> ceremony in <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Eltham?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Eltham</a> this morning. Always a very moving event that brings the whole community together. Very scaled back this year but as important as ever to pay our respects to those we’ve lost. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/LestWeForget?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#LestWeForget</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/PoppyLegion?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@PoppyLegion</a> <a href=”https://t.co/BIPfcXSWYa”>pic.twitter.com/BIPfcXSWYa</a></p>— Dan Thorpe (@DanLThorpe) <a href=”https://twitter.com/DanLThorpe/status/1325454794996248576?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>November 8, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
Greenwich Council leader Danny Thorpe led a stripped back service in Eltham “in a very moving event that brings the whole community together.”
A number of other stripped back services were also held across Greenwich.
Betty Connor, a 99-year-old care home resident at the Prince George Duke of Kent Court, was among those marking Remembrance Day safely at home.
During a service at the care home, she called on the community to make time to remember those who lost their lives and to “support one another and never give up” during the current crisis.
Lewisham Council leader Damien Egan tweeted out thanking those who attended a “smaller, but deeply moving remembrance service.”
Small groups attended Deptford War Memorial.
Bromley’s Mayor, Councillor Hannah Gray, led the borough in a reduced ceremony at the Bromley War Memorial.
The event was filmed, and will be available to view on the council’s website on November 11.
he Mayor said: “I feel a great sadness that we cannot meet to commemorate the heroes of our uniformed forces on this important and poignant occasion and I know many of you will share my emotion.
“However, regardless of where we are at 11am on Remembrance Sunday, I know we will be united in our thoughts to honour those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“Parades will not take place this year as social distancing would not be possible, but some local organisers have explored alternative ways that the community can still pay tribute to our war heroes, without the need for a parade.”