Sailors and Royal Marines pay respect for Remembrance


Thousands of sailors and Royal Marines were at the centre of Remembrance services all over the world.

From the national commemoration at the Cenotaph in London, attended by the Royal family, to services all over the globe – from the deserts of California to the Gulf and the Caribbean – naval service people were at the forefront of Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day events.

More than 100 people from Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton gathered at Fleet Air Arm Memorial Church, St Bartholomew’s, in Somerset for their annual Act of Remembrance. Later, the base’s ceremonial guard paraded through the streets of nearby Yeovil.

Meanwhile, at HMS Collingwood in Fareham, a memorial service and wreath laying ceremony was held. Names of naval personnel who had lost their lives during the past year were marked during a reading.

Captain Catherine Jordan, commanding officer, said: “Taking the time to conduct this act of Remembrance is vitally important, both as a poignant reminder of the sacrifice of those who have fallen in service to our country, but also of the pledges we make to defend our country should we be called upon to do so.” 

Elsewhere in the UK, Remembrance services were held by RNAS Culdrose in Truro and Helston and by HMS Raleigh at Horson cemetery.

In Portsmouth, hundreds of sailors joined the public at war memorials in the city centre and at the seafront. HMS Excellent, on Whale Island, and St Ann’s Church at HMNB Portsmouth also held services.

The Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Royal Navy Guard, provided by HMS Scotia, led the service in Edinburgh at the Stone of Remembrance at the City Chambers.

Across the other side of the country in Helensburgh, personnel from nearby HMNB Clyde joined residents for their annual ceremony while a wreath-laying and parade were also held in Glasgow’s George Square. A Guard of Honour was provided by Royal Marines from Faslane-based 43 Commando.

We are reminded that the best memorials are not made of flowers, wood, or stone, but are made of people. So we stand together today, and every day, committing ourselves and our lives to live daily in the service of peace and freedom.

Reverend Andrew Hillier

The shared Royal Navy and Royal Marines amphibious history during the First World War was remembered at a service held by 47 Commando at HMNB Devonport.

In the Gulf, HMS Montrose organised a sunrise service on its flight deck. The blast of a Bosun’s call sounded in homage to the trench whistles used in the Great War, and a minute’s silence was held.

Commanding Officer Commander Ollie Hucker said: “Wherever we are around the globe and particularly pertinent while forward deployed on operations, it is important that we take the time to remember the sacrifices of those who went before us.

“Today’s poignant and reflective sunrise ceremony certainly gave my Ship’s Company, and I, that opportunity.”

Also holding Remembrance services while deployed was HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group, who are currently off the coast of the United States. Hundreds of sailors and Royal Marines on the aircraft carrier spelled the words “lest we forget” on the flight deck.

The ship’s Chaplain, Reverend Andrew Hillier, said: “We are reminded that the best memorials are not made of flowers, wood, or stone, but are made of people. So we stand together today, and every day, committing ourselves and our lives to live daily in the service of peace and freedom”.

Meanwhile, also in America are Royal Marines from 40 Commando who paused during Exercise Green Dagger to pay their respects.

RFA Mounts Bay, operating in the Caribbean, also held a service on the flight deck attended by personnel from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, the British Army and Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Some of the ship’s company who were on board during Hurricane Dorian, when the ship delivered vital humanitarian aid to the Bahamas, were invited to the Festival of Remembrance at Royal Albert Hall.

Third Officer Sarah Stevens, from the ship, was the torch bearer at the festival. She said: "Being nominated to be the torch bearer was both a huge honour and a surprise. Marching into the Royal Albert Hall to represent RFA Mounts Bay and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary is not something I'll ever forget. It was certainly a career highlight that I'm not sure I'll ever top."