UK

Armistice Day: Nation remembers war dead

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Media captionArmistice Day: A two-minute silence is held in 11 places at the 11th hour, to commemorate the dead of the two world wars, and all later conflicts

A two-minute silence has been observed across the UK to remember the nation's war dead on Armistice Day.

The silence began at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month - the time in 1918 when the guns fell silent along the Western Front in Europe.

War memorials, offices, schools, town halls, and churches all hosted events.

The Princess Royal was at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, while veterans and serving personnel laid wreaths at the Cenotaph in London.

In pictures: Armistice Day commemorations

Trafalgar Square fills to remember the fallen

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Image caption Members of London Community Gospel Choir threw poppy petals into Trafalgar Square's fountain before their appearance at the Silence in the Square event

In commemorations across the UK on Armistice Day:

Armistice Day follows similar ceremonies on Remembrance Sunday to pay tribute to all those who died in World Wars One and Two and in every conflict since.

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Image caption The design of the National Memorial Arboretum means a shaft of sunlight highlights its wreath sculpture at 11:00 on 11 November

The Queen led commemorations on Remembrance Sunday, but she is spending Armistice Day privately at Buckingham Palace with other members of the Royal Family.

Military representatives joined Princess Anne at the National Memorial Arboretum. Its Portland stone memorial is designed so that on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, a shaft of sunlight dissects its inner and outer walls, falling on a bronze wreath sculpture.

At the scene

Liz Jackson, BBC News, in Trafalgar Square

The crowds gathered under cloudy skies for the Royal British Legion's Silence in the Square event - they were made up of schoolchildren, ex-service personnel and passers-by who stopped to commemorate Armistice Day.

The event was marked by a contrast of upbeat songs from the London Community Gospel Choir and a sombre reading of the poem, Remember Me, by actress Miranda Raison.

The importance of remembrance was brought home when actor Bernard Cribbins, an ex-serviceman himself, gave a moving reading of Rudyard Kipling's poem, Tommy.

Big screens allowed hundreds gathered at the edge of the square to see the events close up.

Pop group the Overtones did not let technical problems on the stage stall them, continuing their performance a capella.

Raymond Champion, 79, from London, served in the Army Catering Corps in World War Two.

"I knew people who never came home," he said. "People forget, they don't know what they are letting go. They should respect the people that fought for their freedoms."

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Image caption Veterans were joined by members of the public at the Eleven 'O' One sculpture at Seaham, County Durham
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Image caption Staff at Lloyd's of London stopped work to mark the silence

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall attended a Remembrance Day ceremony in Canberra, as part of their current tour of Australia and New Zealand.

The Prince of Wales met Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian prime minister who once led the campaign for the country to abandon the monarchy.

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Image caption Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall pinned poppies to a memorial wall
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Image caption Poppy petals were released at an event in Liverpool
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Image caption A service was held at Royal Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire

Meanwhile, 19 British veterans were presented with France's highest distinction, the Légion d'honneur.

The ceremony - at the French ambassador's residence in London - was the latest in a series since the 70th anniversary of D-Day, when French President François Hollande pledged to honour all those British veterans who had helped his country during World War Two.

Ambassador Sylvie Bermann said it was France's way of "thanking them for their tremendous service".

Armistice Day

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  • Armistice Day falls each year on 11 November to mark the day in 1918 when the World War One fighting stopped
  • The Allies and Germany signed an armistice in a railway carriage in the Forest of Compiegne in France at 5am. Six hours later, at 11am, the conflict ceased
  • King George V announced that a two-minute silence would be observed in 1919, four days before the first anniversary of Armistice Day. The silence continues to be observed every year on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month

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