Wednesday, 11 November 2009



A two minute silence was observed at 11.00 am GMT across the country today. The silence is observed at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month and marks the moment that four years of war ended with the signing of the Armistice Treaty by Germany and the Allies.This year was particularly poignant as it also marks the passing of a generation. The last of the British World War I veterans died during the year.

Today in Westminster Abbey a special Armistice Day service was held following the deaths of Bill Stone who was 108, Henry Allingham 113 and Harry Patch, 111.

I was wondering whether whether any other countries mark this signing of the armistice with a two minutes silence. It certainly seems to be increasing in the UK with shops, offices, factories, schools etc falling silent. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq perhaps make us realise how peace is never really with us and also how grateful we should be that people gave up their lives so we can live in freedom.

Dame Vera Lynn singing We'll Meet Again is probably the most memorable World War 2 song in the UK and the Commonwealth. The Forces Sweetheart was only 22 when she first recorded it and is now the grand old age of 92.She toured Europe and The Far East during the Second World War providing a much needed boost to the morale of the forces. The song was popular not just because it was a great tune and she was a wonderful singer, but because it lifted people's spirits in a very dark and frightening time.

I was born towards the end of World War 2 and when I was little, this was still a very popular song. We had very little money to go on holiday and so I used to go on bus day trips with my grandparents to York, Edinburgh, Scarborough, The Lake District and other popular places in Scotland and the North of England. On the way back the people always used to sing popular songs of the day and some from the Wars. We'll Meet Again is one I always remember and it brings back lots of happy memories of those times.

Dame Vera stopped performing in 1999 so at the Festival of Remembrance on Saturday in The Royal Albert Hall, Hayley Westenra performed the song with the Fron Male Voice Choir. You can see the performance below. At 2 mins 49 seconds the video screens show Vera Lynn singing and some wartime film of Allied troops. She attended the Festival and you can see her right at the end of the video. She is still very popular.

Surprisingly sales of a CD she released last month, - The Very Best of Vera Lynn made history as she became the oldest living person to top the UK album chart. Not content with that, her record company is releasing a new single of We'll Meet Again for Christmas. They've used the original version of her vocals and added the Fron Male Voice Choir to it. She'll be going head to head with the single of whoever wins X Factor. Normally that single wins because of the music downloads generated by the programme. However we'll see!

It was good to see that this year Hayley Westenra and Dame Vera Lynn jointly launched the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal which aims to raise £31 million to support the Afhgan War's generation of wounded and bereaved.

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  1. My goodness these 3 gentlemen had a very long life. Bill Stone who was 108, Henry Allingham 113 and Harry Patch, 111. They held some programs here also, one being the school children handed a flower to all the veteran's that showed up at school today. Our post office and banks were closed.

  2. What a moving video. Pause on the Queen and see if you don't think she's quite emotional? We all have so much to celebrate in the men and women of our military.

  3. My dad watches the Wreath Laying ceremony at the Cenotaph religiously. It is a yearly event for him and I find ymself doing the same thing on Remembrance Sunday. It is truly a moving experience.

  4. we too have a moment of silence at 11am on the 11th of November. Not sure if its a full two minutes though?

    Gill in Canada

  5. Carry memories with you at all times and you never "have" to set aside a few moments.

  6. Thanks for the wonderful memory and tribute Winnifred. Not just to the memorial of those that served and died, but also to the living. I may be a generation removed but I had many associations with those whose lives tiptoed thru that time period. Too bad the Queen did not have as radiant a smile as Vera! She still looks marvelous!


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