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Remembered Today:

The Unknown Soldier


Soren
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Earlier today there was a really interesting article in the <ail on Sunday about the priest who instigated the idea of an 'unknown soldier burial’, did anyone else see it?

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I didn't see it, Soren, but I'm guessing it must be the Rev. David Railton, MC. He had the idea in August, 1920. By the time he had gained the support of people more infuential than himself, who could secure the approval of the church, the army and the King (who wasn't sold on the idea right away) there was very little time left to organise things. The final arrangements took place very quickly indeed. (The Unknown Warrior's body was still in France on November 9th - 2 days before his funeral.)

The whole story has been told by Michael Gavaghan in his excellent little book, "The Story of the Unknown Warrior."

Tom

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Saw it, but it was in the Sunday Express, not the Mail (at least where I saw it). The priest apparently agonised over his idea for a long while until the Cenotaph had been constructed in 1920, then wrote to the Dean of Westminster, who checked with the Church hierachy, then claimed the idea as his own!

As Tom has said, he wrote to the King who dismissed the idea, then the Dean wrote to the PM who pushed the idea through.

The union flag used in the ceremony was that used by the original priest as an altar cloth in the battle zones, and not an flag that hadn't "seen service".

I'll try and post some more details later.

Steve.

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Wasn't the idea of the unknown soldier started by the French. They have an enormous commemoration of the selection of the body in the Citadel at Verdun (where it took place).

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