Every year, on Remembrance Sunday, [bclink id=”1687″ target=”_blank”] is privileged to represent the Salvation Army UK Territory at the Cenotaph in Whitehall. Following an impressive march through the streets of London, the corps holds a short service of remembrance for those who gave their lives in the two World Wars and subsequent conflicts. Although this is an annual event, each year has its own emphasis. This year, the nation is commemorating the outbreak of World War I.
The procession is comprised as Regent Hall’s senior and junior music sections, uniformed Salvationists and younger members of the corps. A moving sight, it includes veterans of more than 40 marches and children from the age of six upwards. This year, the march was augmented by delegates from the International College for Officers.
The march, preceded by a police motorcycle escort and headed by the Union Flag and numerous Salvation Army flags, set off down Regent Street. There are traditions along the three-mile march. The band played the great marches contained within the Blue Book series, starting off with Montreal Citadel and concluding with The Wellingtonian.
Another tradition is that, on its way to the Cenotaph, the procession stops at Edith Cavell’s memorial. The grand marches are replaced by the hymn tune “Abide with Me”, which tradition says the brave nurse was whistling prior to her execution. After a wreath was laid and a prayer offered at the Cavell monument, the procession continued.
The band stuck up Bramwell Coles’ patriotic march Under Two Flags, timed so that “The National Anthem” is heard as the procession makes its way down Whitehall. As the participants drew near to the Cenotaph, the mood changes again, as the band plays the hymn tune “Sine Nomine”, associated with the words, “For all the saints who from their labors rest”.
The service at the Cenotaph included a wreath-laying and the playing The Last Post and Reveille. The Moderator of the Free Churches Group, Reverend Dr. Hugh Osgood, read from the Bible. Lieutenant-Colonels Hervé and Deborah Cachelin concluded the service in prayer.
The crowds of Central London always greet this march enthusiastically. This year, unusually, following the service at the Cavell memorial, what started as a ripple increased to a wave of applause from hundreds of people standing outside the church at St. Martin’s in the Fields.
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