England is now subject to National lockdown: Stay at Home restrictions. You must stay at home.
Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day are two of the most poignant days in Portsmouth’s calendar. This year we are sadly unable to gather together in the usual way to honour those who have lost their lives in service.
People in Portsmouth will be able take a moment to remember and reflect by watching the city’s online service of remembrance here and on the council’s Facebook page from 9am on Sunday 8 November.
To commemorate Armistice Day we have pre-recorded a short remembrance service at the Garden of Remembrance. This service has also been shared with local veterans associations. We invite all residents to join us in observing the two minutes silence at 11am.
Please join us for a moment of reflection this Remembrance Sunday. Our service of remembrance features addresses and readings from the Anglican Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, and the Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Philip Egan, the Lord Mayor as well as representatives of Portsmouth’s Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities. Music is performed by the Portsmouth Cathedral Choir and musicians from the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines.
Following the announcement of new national coronavirus restrictions from Thursday 5 November, we are asking residents to mark this Remembrance Sunday from home. There will not be a ceremonial event at the cenotaph in Guildhall Square this year and residents are asked not to visit the cenotaph to observe the two minute silence in order to protect others and limit the spread of coronavirus.
We have put together a gallery of some of the wreaths and tributes laid at the cenotaph in 2020.
We are following the lead of the Royal British Legion in encouraging homes and businesses in the city to mark Remembrance Sunday and show support for the armed forces community by displaying a poppy in their window. This could be a traditional Royal British Legion paper poppy, a homemade poppy, a coloured-in poppy or a printed picture. There are pictures of poppies available to download and print from the Royal British Legion website.
We asked local veterans and some of the people who usually take part in Portsmouth’s Remembrance Day parade, to share some of their thoughts and memories of Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day:
“I remember all service men/women past and present and my former shipmates on board HMS Sheffield who lost their lives during the Falklands Conflict in 1982.”
Chris Purcell, Royal Navy veteran
“My dearest memory is from when I trekked to Everest Base Camp to raise money for Help for Heroes in 2011. We were halfway to Everest on the 11th November and at 11am local time had stopped at a trek side Tibetan religious monument. We had a two minute silence followed by a recording of the last post. I laid a small poppy cross on behalf of the Royal Navy. It was a particularly poignant ceremony as one of our fellow trekkers lost his son in Afghanistan.”
John Scivier, Retired Royal Navy officer
“People should be reminded about the lives lost during so many wars to give us the way we live today. Also the reminder of wars still going on and Veterans who are living with the memories of war. They should not be forgotten. My greatest honour was to be able to read a poem out whilst standing on the Guildhall steps facing all the Veterans on Parade and the viewing public.”
Louise Purcell, Poppy Appeal Organiser
“It is important that we never forget that millions of servicemen over the years have given their lives in defence of this country and also in defence of freedom in the world.”
G Birkett, Royal Navy veteran
“On Remembrance Sunday, I reflect on those that I have served with and also all those in the military that have suffered as a result of war. It is more poignant to those that have served or those that have been in the families of those that have served. As a previous Commanding Officer of HMS Victory, I am also reminded that conflict is more than two world wars and for centuries, men and women have laid their lives down for the freedoms we enjoy in the United kingdom.”
John Scivier, Retired Royal Navy officer
“I feel it is important to remember not just the fallen, but also the injured, especially those with life changing injuries and mental injuries. Remembrance should be a reminder, that war and conflict are the last resort. One memory sticks in my mind, being alongside in Bahrain, during a Gulf patrol when the bugle sounded for the last post – the ship went completely silent as the crew paid their respects during the two minute silence.”
Kevin McKale, Royal Navy veteran
“I served for 47 years and remember in detail each of my five combat operations. As l lead the Portsmouth veterans on parade l am particularly impressed and thankful for the growing attendance each year particularly among the younger generation and the excellent organisation by PCC at the Guildhall Square each year.”
Major Keith Allcock