The Western Front Association's remembrance service at the Cenotaph, London: The Pipes & Drums from the London Scottish represented Britain's Territorial Battalions who fought in 1915, notably at the Battle of Loos (Photo: Centenary News)

Commemorations worldwide mark Armistice Day

Posted on centenarynews.com on 11 November 2015
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Armistice Day has been observed with moments of silence and the laying of wreaths in countries around the world.

November 11th 2015 marks the 97th anniversary of the ceasefire which ended the First World War after four years of conflict and millions of deaths.

In London, the *Western Front Association's annual remembrance service at the Cenotaph drew large crowds to the monument unveiled in Whitehall 95 years ago in memory of Britain's dead.

They were reminded of the global impact of the war in 1915, a year that saw the fighting spread to new battlegrounds in the Alps, Gallipoli and Mesopotamia. 

This year's Guard of Honour was drawn from the Royal Gurkha Rifles, representing all the soldiers of Britain's former Indian army and their actions at Neuve Chapelle, Aubers Ridge, Festubert and Gallipoli.

Tributes

In Paris, President Hollande led France's national tribute at the Arc de Triomphe to those killed in the Great War and subsequent conflicts. 

A special Last Post ceremony took place at the Menin Gate in Ypres, at 11am, marking the time the guns fell silent in 1918.

Almost 4,000 people braved heavy rain in Canberra to attend the national remembrance ceremony  at the Australian War Memorial.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall took part, accompanied by Australia's Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

In New Zealand, ferns were laid on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior as part of the Armistice Day commemorations in Wellington.

Canadians gathered in remembrance at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. America's National World War I Museum has been hosting Veterans Day commemorations in Kansas City.

In South Africa, commemorations were held at the Union Buildings in Pretoria and the Johannesburg Cenotaph.

•Members of the Western Front Association led moves to restore the annual tradition of Armistice Day remembrance at the Cenotaph in London in 1994

After the Second World War, the focus of Britain's national commemoration had shifted to Remembrance Sunday, the nearest Sunday to November 11th.

The WFA now gathers at the Cenotaph on Armistice Day every year, except when Remembrance Sunday falls on the 11th of the month, to remember those on all sides who fought from 1914-18.

The ceremony has captured increasing public interest in recent years. After Prime Minister David Cameron's attendance in 2014, today's guests included the recently-elected Deputy Leader of the British Labour Party, Tom Watson, and colleague Maria Eagle, who speaks for Labour on defence matters.

Welsh singer and broadcaster Cerys Matthews read 'My Boy Jack', the poem written by Rudyard Kipling after the loss of his 18-year-old son, John Kipling, at Loos in September 1915.

Sources: Western Front Association; Australian War Memorial/various

Images: Centenary News

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, reporting from the Cenotaph for Centenary News