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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Festival of Rememberance


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The Festival of Remembrance started in 1927 when 10,000 ex-servicemen gathered in the Royal Albert Hall to sing songs before embarking on a midnight march to the Cenotaph led by the Prince of Wales. This event was jointly sponsored by the British Legion and the Daily Express.

In 1928 they were joined by bands from the Brigade of Guards.

By 1929 there was pretty full attendance from the Royal Family and it had become a semi-state occasion. The Daily Express had by then dropped out and from then on sponsorship has been solely by the RBL.

By 1933 the event was in pretty much the format we have today:-

National Anthem

Entry of Branch Standards – Pack up your Troubles, British Grenadiers, Dumbartons Drums, Milanollo, Men of Harlech, Highland Laddie, Wait for the Wagon

Entry of Chelsea Pensioners – Boys of the Old Brigade

Entry of the Womens and Nursing Services – The Great Little Army

Entry of the Union Jack and flags of St George, St Andrew and St Patrick - Sons of the Brave, Colonel Bogey (flutes and drums)

Entry of the Divisional Signs (apparently this was one of the highlights of the Festival as the members of the audience could be very partisan, vocal and emotional, for a popular division it could be hard to hear the band) – Tipperary

Entry of the RAF, Overseas Forces and British Army – Soldiers of the Queen

Entry of the Merchant Navy, Fishing Fleet, RNVR, RNR, RM and RN – Life on the Ocean Wave, Hearts of Oak

Entry of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides – Boys Be Prepared !, Rule Britannia

There was then a rendition of the hymn “Jerusalem”

Entry of the flags of the Services and the Empire Countries – Old Comrades (flutes and drums)

There was then community singing of war time songs followed by a display by the Drums and Pipes of the 1st Bn Irish Guards, which included “Gary Owen” and “Father o’Flynn”, followed in turn by community singing of “songs of the British Isles”

There was then a display entitled “Some Ribbons of the Great War” during which the flutes and drums played “See the conquering Hero” followed by the military bands “Land of Hope and Glory”

The bands then played the lament from “The Keltic Suite” by Foulds

Kipling’s poem “Recessional” was then rendered (I am not sure if this was spoken or sung)

There was then a roll of drums followed by the sounding of infantry last post on bugles by drummers of the 3rd Bn Coldstream Guards. “To the Fallen” was spoken by the Prince of Wales. The hymn “O Valiant Hearts” was then sung followed by the silence and the release of 1,104,890 Poppy petals. Cavalry Reveille was then sounded by Trumpeters of the Royal Horse Guards. The Hymn “Abide with Me” was then sung and the ceremony concluded with the National Anthem.

In attendance were the Bands of the Coldstream, Irish and Welsh Guards, the Corps of Drums of the 3rd Bn Coldstream Guards, 1st Bn Irish Guards and 1st Bn Welsh Guards and the Drums and Pipes of 1st Bn Irish Guards

That's some history thoughts may come later

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The service in 1937 sounds an interesting one.

The man whose cries interrupted the Two Minutes' Silence at the Cenotaph this morning is a man named Stanley Storey, aged 43, who was responsible for a disturbance in the Gallery of this House on 27th January and was in Cane Hill Asylum from 4th February to 21st September, on which date he escaped and has since been at large. He fell forward through the ranks of the police, who thought he was fainting, then got up and dived between the Naval Contingent shouting some such words as "No more war: end this hypocrisy." He was immediately removed to a room in the Colonial Office, and Special Branch officers were sent for who identified him at once from his appearance. He said to them that he had thought of making this demonstration three days ago, but had no intention of making an attack upon the King or upon anyone else. No weapons of any kind were found upon him. The man was obviously suffering from delusions. He is at present in Fulham Infirmary under observation. No question of criminal proceedings is under consideration. The only question is whether application should be made to the magistrates for his re-certification as a lunatic. This must depend on the result of observation.

The crowds around him evidently shouted 'kill him, kill him'.


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Thanks for this note, it made very interesting reading.

Not many formats survive that unchanged for 75 years!


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