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Remembrance Day

“At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month – we will remember them.” 

Ashford War Memorial

Ashford Remembers

Armistice Day or Remembrance Day: What is it and why is it important? 

Armistice Day, often referred to as Remembrance Day, is on 11 November.  The Armistice was an agreement to end the fighting of the First World War at 11am on 11 November 1918.  It put an end to four years of conflict that resulted in the death of more than 16 million people – soldiers and civilians alike.

To commemorate the armistice agreement a remembrance is observed – on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month – and the day has become known as Remembrance Day.

Remembrance Day was first observed in 1919 throughout the British Commonwealth. To this day, we mark Remembrance Day around the United Kingdom with a Two-Minute Silence at 11am on the 11 November.

Why do we hold a Two-Minute Silence?

The first Two-Minute Silence in Britain was held on 11 November 1919, when King George V asked the public to observe a silence at 11am.  He made the request so "the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead".

Remembrance Sunday

There is also Remembrance Sunday every year, which falls on the second Sunday in November – this year it is on 14 November. Remembrance Sunday is a day to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts.

The National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in London is held on Remembrance Sunday. The service is attended by senior members of the Royal Family, including Her Majesty the Queen, HM Government and features a March Past involving 10,000 veterans.

Ashford and Tenterden Remembers 2021

Ashford Borough Council is pleased to announce that it will hold its annual Remembrance Sunday Commemoration Service in the Memorial Gardens at 11am on Sunday 14 November 2021. Those wishing to go along are advised to arrive ten minutes before the start of the service, although the gardens themselves will be open to the public from 10am.

Dignitaries, invited representatives and veterans will be invited into the Garden of Remembrance where the Mayor of Ashford and other distinguished guests will be in attendance to lay the wreaths. There will be no public access to the Garden of Remembrance whilst the service is on but those wishing to view the wreaths and crosses may do so once the area is reopened at the end of the service.

PLEASE NOTE: free car parking for attendees has moved from Vicarage Lane to Elwick Road.

If you would prefer to view the event and still mark the occasion from the comfort of your own homes, we will be filming the event and will make it available as a live stream on our YouTube page. An edited short video and photos from the event will also be available to view on our website.

View the memorial service on Ashford Borough Council's YouTube page from 10.55am on Sunday 14 November

A History of Remembrance in Ashford

Last year Ashford held a service for invited guests in the Memorial Gardens to mark Remembrance Sunday on 8 November. This was a short service that included the laying of wreaths and two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. Due to the Government’s then COVID-19 guidelines on social distancing, the Memorial Gardens were not open to the public.

Ashford Borough Council filmed the event and provided a live stream to enable the public to follow proceedings at home. The live stream was hosted on the council’s Facebook page, allowing residents to tune in via their computers or on a mobile device. This was the first time in history that the National Service of Remembrance events was closed to members of the public, in line with the Government’s scientific and medical advice. The Mayor of Ashford, along with distinguished guests and invited representatives were in attendance to lay the wreaths. There was no procession and wreath layers were asked to report direct to the Memorial Gardens.

For those who were unable to watch the live stream, an edited version of Ashford's 2020 Remembrance Sunday service is available to watch below:

Ashford War Memorial(Above) Remembrance Service, Memorial Gardens, Ashford 2020.

Ashford War Memorial(Above) Wreaths laid as part of the Remembrance Service, Memorial Gardens, Ashford 2020.

(Above) Remembrance Sunday Service, Memorial Gardens, Ashford, 2019.  Images courtesy of  Andrew Clarke. (Above) Remembrance Sunday Service, Memorial Gardens, Ashford, 2019.  Images courtesy of  Andrew Clarke.

Mayor of Ashford, Remembrance Service 2019

(Above) Remembrance Sunday Service, Memorial Gardens, Ashford, 2019.  Images courtesy of  Andrew Clarke.

Ashford War Memorial, Memorial Gardens

“They gave their lives in war that we in peace might live” (inscription)

The unveiling of Ashford War Memorial

Ashford War Memorial

The Ashford War Memorial was designed by local architect Edwin A Jackson and unveiled on 1 June 1924 by General Sir Ian Hamilton GCB GCMG DSO, Commander of the British Mediterranean Expeditionary Force at Gallipoli. The land, memorial and ornate wrought iron gates of remembrance were funded by public subscription which by 1924 had raised more than £10,000.

The names of 250 of the fallen of the First World War were inscribed on the memorial and among those named is Sergeant Harry Wells, 2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, who was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross at the Battle of Loos in 1915. Following the Second World War, further names, including civilians, were added on plaques affixed to the low walls surrounding the memorial.

Today this elegant memorial and its elaborate memorial gates stand testament to the sacrifice and memory of those who gave their lives in subsequent conflicts throughout the world.

The Unknown Warrior

The Unknown Warrior is a British First World War soldier unknown by name or rank, brought from France to Westminster Abbey to be buried on 11 November 1920. The body of the Unknown Warrior was taken by train from Dover to London and the railway carriage in which it was carried is now in the care of the Kent & East Sussex Railway.

The same railway vehicle had been previously used to transport the body of Nurse Edith Cavell, who was executed by the Germans in October 1915 for helping British soldiers to escape, and it is now known as “The Cavell Van”. Other repatriated heroes it carried included Capt. Edward Fryatt, executed by the Germans in Bruges in 1916.

The Cavell Van is cherished by the Tenterden-based railway, where it is a popular attraction. It has been lovingly restored and contains a replica of the Unknown Warrior’s beautiful coffin, as well as stories of the heroes it carried.

The Unknown Warrior

Pictured above: The Cavell Van on display at the Kent & East Sussex Railway. Image courtesy of Robin Dyce.

Remembrance Day: Why wear a poppy?

Find out more about why we wear poppies and where you can buy them from.

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