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Defence

News Article

Nation to commemorate passing of First World War generation

27 Jun 06

The passing of the last known veteran from the First World War will be marked by an historic National Memorial Service at Westminster Abbey, Defence Secretary Des Browne announced today, Tuesday 27 June 2006, at the Veterans Day events in London.

Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall meet Michael Pratt GC at a reception held at St James' Square gardens which followed the service at Westminster Abbey to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Victoria Cross & 50th anniversary of the VC and GC Association, Monday 26 June 2006. [Picture: Ian Nelson]. Opens in a new window.

Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall meet Michael Pratt GC at a reception held at St James' Square gardens which followed the service at Westminster Abbey to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Victoria Cross & 50th anniversary of the VC and GC Association, Monday 26 June 2006.
[Picture: Ian Nelson]

After consultation with surviving WWI veterans, it was agreed that the service will be held shortly after the death of the last known veteran. It is planned that the events of the day will reflect those of 11th November 1920 when the Unknown warrior was laid to rest and the Cenotaph unveiled. The service will be preceded by a procession replicating some of the sombre pageantry of that day.

Defence Secretary Des Browne said:

"Millions of men and women from across the British Empire made great sacrifices serving their country in World War One. Millions more endured the loss of their loved ones.

"A National Memorial Service will allow the whole nation to honour the valour and spirit shown by the veterans of WW1 and will commemorate an entire generation."

Veterans Minister Tom Watson added:

"The First World War generation endured great hardships both on the front line and on the home front. Without their sacrifice the world would be a very different place today and we might not have the freedoms that we take for granted today."

The National Memorial Service will be held within about 12 weeks of the death of the last know World War One veteran. The service will be held in Westminster Abbey and will be preceded by a memorial procession. Further details will be announced closer to the event.

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