Prince Harry will pay a visit to Westminster Abbey this Thursday, 6th November to open the Field of Remembrance.
Now one of six across the UK, the tribute in London was the original Field of Remembrance and was first held in the grounds of Westminster Abbey in 1928. Each field is a testament to the respect and gratitude felt by so many for the country’s fallen service personnel.
Thursday’s visit will be Prince Harry’s second to the site; he previously accompanied The Duke of Edinburgh in 2013.
He will be met by The Dean of Westminster, The Sub-Dean and Rector of St Margaret’s Church along with the President and members of the Royal British Legion Poppy Factory.
Harry will lay a Cross of Remembrance in front of two wooden crosses from the Graves of Unknown British Soldiers from the First and Second World Wars. The Prince is expected to meet with veterans from past and more recent conflicts after The ‘Last Post’ is sounded and followed by a two minutes’ silence.
Prince Harry is a serving member of the Armed Forces and is a Captain in the Blues and Royals, the second most senior regiment in the British Army and part of the Household Cavalry. The Prince has undergone two tours of Afghanistan; one in 2007-2008 and another in 2012-2013.
In January 2014, the Ministry of Defence announced that the Prince would take up a Staff Officer role in HQ London District, helping to “co-ordinate significant project and commemorative events” involving the Army in London.
This included the successful Invictus Games, a Paralympic-style sporting event for injured servicemen and women, held in September 2014.
Today, there are Fields of Remembrance in Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Gateshead and Lydiard Park.
Lydiard Park is close to Royal Wootton Bassett which was granted Royal Patronage in 2011, in recognition of its role in the early 21st century military funeral repatriations, which passed through the town.
From April 2007, the bodies of service personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan were repatriated to RAF Lyneham while repairs were done at RAF Brize Norton.
The bodies would then be transported to John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, in coffins covered with a Union Flag, passing through Royal Wootton Bassett on their way.
After local members of The Royal British Legion became aware of the repatriation, and decided to formally show their respect to the soldiers as they passed through their town, other people began assembling along the route, often with large gatherings of over 1,000 people.
Each field plays hosts to Remembrance Tribute carries a personal message to someone who lost his or her life in the Service of our country.
Previously, the Remembrance Tributes would only be in the style of crosses however, to recognise the variety of faiths involved in the conflicts, the tributes are available today in the Star of David, the Muslim Crescent, the Sikh Khanda, the Hindu Om or a secular tribute; which is not related to any particular faith.