UK

Remembrance events: Queen attends Royal Albert Hall festival

  • 7 November 2015
  • From the section UK
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Duke of Edinburgh accompanied the Queen to the remembrance event

The UK's war dead have been honoured at the annual Festival of Remembrance, which was attended by the Queen.

The monarch arrived at London's Royal Albert Hall on Saturday evening accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and other senior royals.

The service remembered those who have died in conflicts past and present and heard from a number of veterans.

The Queen will also lead tributes at the traditional Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph in Westminster later.

Fanfare

The service will honour those killed in World Wars One and Two, as well as later conflicts, with a two-minute silence at 11:00 GMT.

Wreaths will be laid at the foot of the Whitehall memorial, followed by a veterans' march.

The service is going to be shorter than in previous years, in an effort to reduce the amount of time war veterans are made to stand.

However, plans to make political leaders lay wreaths together in order to save time were dropped after some political leaders argued they were being overlooked.

As she arrived at Saturday's event, the Queen was greeted by the president of the Royal British Legion, Vice-Admiral Peter Wilkinson, to the sound of a fanfare played by trumpeters from The Band of the Household Cavalry.

A host of other royals attended the event, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke of York and the Earl and Countess of Wessex. Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn were also there.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were among the audience

The service began with a citation written and read by veteran Paul Jacobs, who lost his sight after helping to save colleagues from a bomb blast in Afghanistan.

"I am now no longer a soldier, I am a wounded person that's got a whole life that wasn't planned out," he said in a video interview.

Three generations of Gurkhas also spoke of their war time experiences, including Brigadier Bruce Jackman, who successfully led a jungle raid in Borneo for which he was awarded a Military Cross.

'Shot down'

Other highlights included readings from veterans Tony Pickering, 95, and 94-year-old Bob Hucklesby, of Dorset.

Former squadron leader Mr Pickering, who had just turned 20 when he flew Hurricanes in the Battle of Britain during World War Two, reminded the gathering of its significance and the courageous work ethic demonstrated by those involved.

He told the audience how two months into his duty, he had been shot down over Caterham, Surrey, but flew again the next day.

"We never gave up control of the sky," he said.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The event was held in London's Royal Albert Hall

Mr Hucklesby, who served with the 560th Field Company Royal Engineers and was taken prisoner in Singapore in 1942, also recounted his experiences of the war.

During four years in a Japanese camp, Mr Hucklesby survived disease and forced labour. He weighed just seven stone when he returned.

"You had to be determined. If you ever gave up, you were dead in three days," he said.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The royal box stood to its feet in appreciation of the Chelsea Pensioners as they arrived at the venue

The Festival of Remembrance began in 1927, and was originally intended to honour the sacrifices of those who died in World War One, however it now includes tributes to the war dead from all past and more recent conflicts.

To close the evening, The Last Post rang out in the theatre, and during the minutes of silence, poppy leaves drifted from the ceiling.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was there to pay tribute to servicemen and women

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