Honouring the Unknown Warrior
Today, 11th November 2020, marks the centenary of the unveiling of the Cenotaph and also the burial of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey. This symbol of the suffering and loss of a nation was conceived by a First World War Army Padre, The Reverend David Railton. The immense power of his simple idea became evident in the following days after the burial as thousands of mourners filed by the Grave and comfort was drawn from this symbolic act, as mothers and fathers, widows, children and sweethearts mourned the loss of their loved one.
At the burial in 1920, 74 Victoria Cross recipients along with 12 other highly decorated servicemen formed an Honour Guard, commanded by Lord Freyberg, VC CGM DSO**. Originally this was meant to be 100 VC recipients but due to the difficulties of the time, including the Spanish flu pandemic, the numbers could not be achieved on the day. Today, on the centenary of this important national event, Chris Finney GC and Colour Sergeant Johnson Beharry VC COG represented their forebears by taking part in the service, which was attended by the Association's President, HRH The Prince of Wales, saying prayers in the Abbey. They were joined by Lord Freyberg's grandson.
The National Army Museum have an exhibition on the Unknown Warrior which is well worth a visit once current Covid restrictions are over.