UK

Remembrance Sunday: UK's wartime fallen commemorated

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Media captionA two-minute silence was held at the Cenotaph to remember those who have died in armed conflicts

A two-minute silence has been held to remember members of the British and Commonwealth's armed forces who have died during conflicts.

The Queen was joined by several members of the Royal Family at the Cenotaph for Remembrance Sunday.

The country observed a two-minute silence as Big Ben struck the eleventh hour.

British forces across the world - including 9,500 soldiers in Afghanistan - also stood silent to remember.

The Queen laid a wreath, followed by the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duke of Cambridge.

The former chief of the defence staff, Lord Guthrie, laid a wreath on behalf of the Prince of Wales, who is in Auckland, New Zealand.

Image caption The Queen led dignitaries in honouring the UK's war dead at the Cenotaph

British Foreign Secretary William Hague laid a wreath on behalf of all those in the armed forces across the commonwealth who have fallen.

Veterans' representatives laid wreaths at the Cenotaph before nearly 10,000 ex-servicemen and women marched past to commemorate their fallen comrades.

This year's commemoration is the first to take place since the death of the last veteran to serve during World War I on either side, according to the Royal British Legion.

There was warm applause from the crowd as the parade marched past the war memorial, inscribed to The Glorious Dead.

The Royal British Legion's head of remembrance, Helen Hill, said the number of veterans marching had increased by 3,000 in the past five years.

"The numbers are going up, not down. There are an increasing number of associations looking after the veteran community. More and more people want to participate in the activities," she said.

Other remembrance events were held across the UK:

British servicemen and women in Helmand Province were able to attend services at remote patrol bases or checkpoints.

Lt-Col Zac Stenning, a serving soldier, attended the Remembrance service in London for the first time.

He told BBC News he was "immensely struck by both the dignity and pride and the solemnity of the service".

He added he had lost 10 men from his Army unit in the last six months in Afghanistan, and this in particular made this Sunday an important day.

"It is that single day in the year when we stand together and as a nation we remember the commitment of our men and women of the armed forces not only as soldiers today but of the past."

Corporal of Horse Alistair Grice, from the Blues and Royals Household Cavalry Regiment, said it was a "day of remembering and a celebration of what we have and what we are fortunate to have".

The 35-year-old, from Coppull in Lancashire, who served in conflicts from Bosnia onwards said he would be remembering comrades from his unit including Trooper James Munday, who died in an explosion in Afghanistan on 15 October 2008 and Lance Corporal Jonathan Woodgate, 26, who was killed on 26 March 2010.

Image caption Veteran pensioners from the Royal Hospital Chelsea march in respect of the UK's wartime fallen

Cpl Grice added: "It's amazing to see how many people, not just British but foreign as well, who are here to support the British Armed Forces and what we have done in the past."

This year, Remembrance Sunday falls on 11 November itself, the date of the armistice which brought World War I to an end.

The prime minister of the Republic of Ireland and his deputy took part in Remembrance Sunday services in Northern Ireland.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was in Enniskillen and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore was in Belfast, where First Minister Peter Robinson and Secretary of State Theresa Villiers led the wreathlaying.

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones led Wales in its Remembrance Sunday commemorations in Cardiff.

Meanwhile, First Minister Alex Salmond paid tribute to the courage and commitment of Scotland's servicemen and women in Edinburgh.

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