07 Nov 2013

His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales opened the Royal British Legion’s 85th Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey on Thursday 7th November 2013.

Their Royal Highnesses arrived at the Field of Remembrance, on the Abbey’s North Green, shortly before 11 am and were greeted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, and the Sub Dean, the Venerable Dr Jane Hedges.

Prayers were said by the Dean and the Rector of St Margaret's Church, Canon Andrew Tremlett. The Dean said: ‘For the 85th time at the Field of Remembrance we meet again to remember those who gave their lives in the conflicts of our time that we might enjoy freedom and peace. With full hearts at this, our Field of Remembrance, let us pray for the peace of the whole world.’

The Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Harry laid crosses of remembrance in front of two wooden crosses from the Graves of Unknown British Soldiers from the First and Second World Wars.

The Last Post was sounded from the parapet of St Margaret’s Church by Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry and the Exhortation of Remembrance was said by Mrs Sarah Jones, President of the Royal British Legion Poppy Factory, before an observance of two minutes’ silence at 11am. Mrs Jones is the widow of Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert (‘H’) Jones, VC, OBE who was awarded the Victoria Cross after being  killed in action during the Battle of Goose Green where he was commanding officer of 2 Battalion, Parachute Regiment during the Falklands War.

After the silence Their Royal Highnesses toured the plots of poppy crosses meeting veterans, representatives of organisations involved in conflict, and members of the public, who have planted a cross in memory of their fallen comrades and loved ones.

After the tour Their Royal Highnesses were welcomed to St Margaret’s Church by the Rector and the Dean who invited them to sign the Distinguished Visitors’ Book and presented: the Reverend Alan Boddy, Priest Vicar; Sir Peter Bottomley MP, Parliamentary Warden; the Reverend Ralph Godsall, Priest Vicar; Edward Osterwald, Peoples Warden; Iain Murray, Rector’s Warden, the Reverend Garry Swinton, Priest Vicar; and Mrs Ali Tremlett, wife of the rector.

Each November the Royal British Legion establishes a Field of Remembrance in the grounds of Westminster Abbey. The field is a sea of remembrance crosses with scarlet poppies - a symbol of remembrance and a tribute to the memory of ex-Service men and women. This year there are 388 plots and 100,000 crosses.

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