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Arrival of the Unknown Warrior, Service

Tuesday 7.30pm, platform 8 Victoria Station - Legion Standard Bearers in attendance

The British tomb of The Unknown Warrior holds an unidentified British soldier killed on a European battlefield during the First World War. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, London on 11 November 1920, simultaneously with a similar interment of a French unknown soldier at the Arc de Triomphe in France, making both tombs the first to honour the unknown dead of the First World War.unknown warriorcarridge.jpg

Every year on 10 November around 8.15 pm there is a wreath laying Remembrance Service held at Victoria Station between platforms 8 and 9 to mark the arrival of the coffin when it arrived at platform 8 at 8.32 pm that evening and remained overnight under escort of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. (A plaque at Victoria Station marks the site).

  The original Cavell van that carried the Unknown Warrior; restored by the Kent East Sussex Railway station at Tenterden. 

unknown-warrior.jpgThe following morning, 11 November 1920, the casket, covered with the Union Flag, on which was placed a steel helmet and side arms, was placed onto a gun carriage of the Royal Horse Artillery drawn by six horses and led by a Firing Party and the Regimental bands of the Brigade of Guards, set off through immense and silent crowds.

As the cortege set off, a further Field Marshal's salute was fired in Hyde Park. The route followed was Hyde Park Corner, The Mall, and to the Cenotaph. At the Cenotaph, the carriage halted and King George placed a wreath of roses and bay leaves (the Poppy Appeal did not begin until 1921) on the coffin.  After the two-minute silence the gun carrriage continued to Westminster Abbey followed by the King, the Royal Family and ministers of state.  Outside the Abbey and flanked by a guard of honour of one hundred recipients of the Victoria Cross, the coffin was borne by NCOs from the Brigade of Guards into the West Nave.  The funeral service consisted of music from only English composers.  At the conclusion of the last hymn, the helmet and side arms were removed and the coffin laid in the tomb. 

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