Nation remembers its dead: Tears and reflection as poignant two-minute silence is observed on Armistice Day by people around the country


A two minutes silence was immaculately observed by the large crowd at The Cenotaph.

Hundreds of military veterans formed a square around the memorial to the war dead having arrived behind a marching band for Remembrance Day.

They were joined by cadets from the three military branches who stood in solemn tribute as the Last Post sounded at 11am – with the chimes of Big Ben in the background.

The hundreds of supporters far right leader Tommy Robinson gathered opposite Downing Street observed the silence along with others gathered at The Cenotaph. Police equipped with riot helmets kept watch on the group who waved Union Jack and cross of St George flags.

As a bugler signalled the end of the silence applause followed by chants of England erupted from a section of the crowd.

LONDON: People with poppy pins observe a two-minute silence on Remembrance Day

CORNWALL: Two minutes of silence is observed by women at Carne Beach this morning

CORNWALL: Two minutes of silence is observed by women at Carne Beach this morning

WALES: Brecon Mountain Rescue Team hold a two-minute silence in the Brecon Beacons

WALES: Brecon Mountain Rescue Team hold a two-minute silence in the Brecon Beacons

SCOTLAND: An elderly woman weeps as the two-minute silence is observed at the Scott Monument in Princes Street Gardens East

SCOTLAND: An elderly woman weeps as the two-minute silence is observed at the Scott Monument in Princes Street Gardens East

PETERBOROUGH: A veteran holds his face in his hands while observing the two-minutes silence at the War Memorial in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

PETERBOROUGH: A veteran holds his face in his hands while observing the two-minutes silence at the War Memorial in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

STAFFORDSHIRE: The Princess Royal attends the Armistice Day Service of Remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum, in Alrewas

STAFFORDSHIRE: The Princess Royal attends the Armistice Day Service of Remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum, in Alrewas

This quickly ended as the wreath laying ceremony began.

The only sound was that of a helicopter passing overhead.

Fights broke out earlier today as Tommy Robinson and hundreds of his supporters arrived in Whitehall as police officers tried to maintain a ring of steel around the Cenotaph ahead of a huge march in solidarity with Palestinians later today.

But fears that the far right supporters would clash with pro-Palestinian protesters did not materialise at the crucial 11am time

There were no Palestinian activists in the crowd which stood 10 deep behind metal barriers.

As chants of ‘England till I die’ and ‘Let us through’ echoed close to the war memorial police reinforcements raced to contain the mob as they jostled to be allowed to join the large crowds gathered. 

Dozens broke through and police could be seen hitting out at those pushing through with batons, as it was reported some of those gathered threw bottles towards police officers.

This comes as crafters commemorated Remembrance Day by adorning postboxes with poignant knitted and crocheted tributes which include planes, soldiers and poppies.

People from Yarn Bomb Hemel Hempstead – which has more than 900 members, 30 of whom are active – has put up roughly 35 toppers – both old and new – to pay their respects to those who served.

Christine Allsopp, one of the organisers of the group, alongside Paula Wright and Annette Simons, said that this will be the group’s sixth year marking the remembrance period, with everything from planes and soldiers to tanks being replicated in knitted and crocheted form.

‘There are a few people whose fathers or grandfathers have served in the Armed Forces,’ the 62-year-old said.

‘The year before last we started doing toppers for regiments, so we have one topper which is the three paratroopers.

‘My son was a Royal Marine for 10 years, so we’ve got one topper that has got the Royal Marines on it.

‘We’ve got Irish Guards, we’ve got the Royal Scots.

‘One lady called Margaret felt that we had a lot of men represented so she made figures representing (groups including) the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), Women’s Royal Naval Service (WREN) and Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS).’

She said that for the Land Girls topper, someone attached a picture of their ‘nan’, who was a Land Girl.

She added many have left ‘lovely’ comments about the toppers on social media and when they were being put out, people would stop and talk to the group and people in cars would stick their thumbs up.

It took the crafters two weeks to put up all the toppers and they have also decorated around the area’s war memorial and wrapped trees with both red and purple poppies, with the latter paying respect to animals involved in war.

They are eventually to sell the poppies to raise funds for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.

NEWCASTLE: LNER staff observe a moment of silence alongside commuters at Newcastle Central Station at 11am on Remembrance Day

NEWCASTLE: LNER staff observe a moment of silence alongside commuters at Newcastle Central Station at 11am on Remembrance Day

EDINBURGH: Veterans and members of the public observed the silence as Legion Scotland deliver the short service of Remembrance to commemorate Armistice Day at the Scott Monument in Princes Street Gardens East

EDINBURGH: Veterans and members of the public observed the silence as Legion Scotland deliver the short service of Remembrance to commemorate Armistice Day at the Scott Monument in Princes Street Gardens East

Crowds observe the two minute's silence near to the Cenotaph on Whitehall in central London

Crowds observe the two minute’s silence near to the Cenotaph on Whitehall in central London

People taking part in the two minutes silence to mark Armistice Day during the Lord Mayor's Show in the City of London

People taking part in the two minutes silence to mark Armistice Day during the Lord Mayor’s Show in the City of London

Jockeys hold two minute's silence ahead of the November Handicap at Newcastle Racecourse

Jockeys hold two minute’s silence ahead of the November Handicap at Newcastle Racecourse

HENLEY ON THAMES: People pay their during the two minutes silence at the Armistice Day event outside the town hall

A veteran in Army camo observes the two minutes silence in front of the war memorial

HENLEY ON THAMES: People pay their during the two minutes silence at the Armistice Day event outside the town hall

Army Cadets supporting the Royal British Legion help the Poppy Appeal in Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire

Army Cadets supporting the Royal British Legion help the Poppy Appeal in Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire

Two minutes silence is observed outside Henley on Thames town hall at 11am

Two minutes silence is observed outside Henley on Thames town hall at 11am

WINDSOR: Royal British Legion and volunteers support the Poppy appeal today

WINDSOR: Royal British Legion and volunteers support the Poppy appeal today

WINDSOR: Royal British Legion and volunteers support the Poppy appeal today

Caroline Lord, who is based in Raunds, Northamptonshire, spent more than 50 hours creating her remembrance topper, which features a Spitfire and poppies, inspired by her father who is an ex-services man.

The 48-year-old who is an artist and mature student, currently studying for her computer science degree with the Open University, told PA: ‘My father Terry O’Donovan, aged 75, is an ex-service man who served in the RAF both overseas and in the UK.

‘He is also a member of the Royal British Legion and the RAFA (RAF association).

‘When we were younger, my brother and I were both RAF cadets and they are times that I remember with much fondness.’

Speaking about how she picked the design, she said: ‘I had chosen the Spitfire as an iconic symbol of the RAF and the sacrifices made by the members of their forces.

‘It’s also my favourite plane and one that is uniquely recognisable.’

Mrs Lord – who is also a founder member of the Raunds Yarn Bombers – used her artistic flair when making the topper, thinking of creative ways to pay her respects to the fallen soldiers who once served the country.

‘I started by sketching the Spitfire, roughly to scale and working to make its wing shapes in a simple single crochet pattern, with increases added at the points necessary to create the shape I wanted,’ she said.

‘These were then reinforced with a sheet of plastic canvas to give them strength and help retain the shape and withstand the British weather!’

People from Yarn Bomb Hemel Hempstead - which has more than 900 members, 30 of whom are active - has put up roughly 35 toppers - both old and new - to pay their respects to those who served

A yarn bomb postbox topper commemorating Armistice Day

People from Yarn Bomb Hemel Hempstead – which has more than 900 members, 30 of whom are active – has put up roughly 35 toppers – both old and new – to pay their respects to those who served

A crocheted postbox topper showing soldiers and a tank on a battlefield

A crocheted postbox topper showing soldiers and a tank on a battlefield

She then used pipe cleaners to create landing gear.

The rest of the display was made from paper mache, which was formed and painted to resemble a cliff face.

‘(This) was then varnished to protect against the elements,’ she added.

‘I crocheted chains in various thickness, textures and colours to create a coastline and rolling hill.

She also made crocheted poppies and used Fimo clay to create a different variation of the flower to form streams of poppies, which came from the plane to ‘symbolise the sacrifices made by our brave pilots during WWII’.



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