Sunday 11 November 2012

11th Month 11th day 11th hour

My workmate is ex Army and he posted this today on facebook and I share it with you here ......

Remember the Unknown Warrior

On September 7th 1920, in strictest secrecy four unidentified British bodies were exhumed from temporary battlefield cemeteries at Ypres, Arras, the Asine and the Somme. None of the soldiers who did the digging were told why. The bodies were taken by field ambulance to GHQ at St-Pol-sur-Ternoise. 

There the bodies were draped with the Union Flag. Sentries were posted and Brigadier-General Wyatt and a Colonel Gell selected one body at Random. A French honour guard was selected, who stood by the coffin overnight. In the morning of the 8th a specially designed coffin made of oak from the grounds of Hampton Court was brought and the Unknown Warrior placed inside. 

On top was placed a Crusaders Sword and a shield on which was inscribed 'A British Warrior who fell in the Great War 1914-1918 For King and Country'. On the 9th of November the Unknown Warrior was taken by horse drawn carriage through Guards of Honour and the sound of tolling bells and bugle calls to the Quayside. There it was saluted by Marechal Foche and loaded onto HMS Verdun bound for Dover.

The coffin stood on the deck covered in wreaths and surrounded by the French Honour Guard. On arrival at Dover the Unknown Warrior was greeted with a 19 gun salute, normally only reserved for field marshals. He then travelled by special train to Victoria station London.

He stayed there overnight and on the morning of the 11th of November he was taken to Westminster Abbey. The Idea of the Unknown Soldier was thought of by a Padre called David Railton who had served at the front during the Great War and it was the Union Flag he used as an altar cloth at the front, which had been draped over the coffin.

The intention was that all relatives of the 517,773 combatants whose bodies had not been identified could believe that the Unknown Warrior could very well be their lost Husband, Father, Brother or Son.

Every year on the 11th of November remember the Unknown Warrior....


  1. Hi furry pig. I noticed your comment on CJs 12 days of christmas, where you said you couldn't find the form to fill in. If you go back up to the paragraph where the information/instructions are and mid-way down at number 1 it says "Fill Out Form". If you actually click on those words it brings you to the form!! Tess

  2. I'd never heard that before, that's so beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes! Thanks for sharing it with us xx

  3. I love the idea that the unknown soldier *could* be any body - but I really want to know what happened to those other three corpses now!

  4. A very moving post - so good to know these things.

  5. I didn't know the story behind it but its fascinating! Thank you for stopping by my blog during the hop, I hope you had fun!