Remembrance Day 2018: Armistice centenary marked around the world from Sydney to Northern Ireland

Tens of thousands of people paused to reflect on lives lost in First World War a century ago 

Emma Snaith
Sunday 11 November 2018 12:15
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What was the Armistice?

Commemorations for the centenary of Armistice Day began with remembrance services across Australia, New Zealand and Commonwealth countries. In the UK a lone piper played in the day before dawn in Northern Ireland.

Tens of thousands of people paused to reflect on the lives lost in the First World War a century ago, in Sydney and other Australian cities.

Meanwhile, more than 100 people gathered in the dark at Enniskillen Castle in County Fermanagh at 6am to hear the piper play When The Battle's O'er, a traditional retreat march song.

The Wilfred Owen poem Anthem For Doomed Youth was read before ministers from the four main churches in the town led prayers of reflection.

A two-minute silence was observed after The Last Post was played on the bugle that sounded the charge of the 36th Ulster Division at the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

Lord-Lieutenant for County Fermanagh, Viscount Brookborough, gave the oration at the ceremony.

"All of our communities served willingly and suffered equally throughout the long years of that war and I am delighted to see so many people here this morning," he said.

Attendee Phillip Skelton from the Highgate RSL Branch during Remembrance Day commemorations at the WA State War Memorial in King's Park, Perth, Australia

"The Armistice was signed a few minutes after 5am on that 11th day, and we are in Enniskillen, the western most point of this celebration this year. Enniskillen was the first town to hear of the Armistice through a radio operator scanning the airwaves and he heard, in Morse code, the message which was transmitted in Paris and he translated it.”

Another service will take place in Enniskillen on Sunday morning at the Cenotaph, followed by a service at St Macartan's Cathedral.

The news of the Armistice reportedly broke in Enniskillen three hours before London, Edinburgh, Manchester or Dublin thanks to the local wireless operator who picked up a very faint signal with the news.

(EPA

Local newspapers reported at the time, that the news “spread like wildfire” with rockets fired into the sky and the ringing of church bells.

There is an added poignancy to Remembrance Sunday in Enniskillen, after an IRA bomb exploded close to the Cenotaph during the annual commemoration killing 11 people.

Across Commonwealth nations, services of remembrance were held from Sydney to Singapore on Sunday to commemorate those who lost their lives on the other side of the world during the First World War.

Over 12,000 people gathered for a national ceremony of remembrance at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, where Prime Minister Scott Morrison led a minute's silence.

Armistice centenary commemorations in Wellington, New Zealand

In Sydney, crowds gathered at the Anzac Memorial and there was also a service at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.

Earlier in New Zealand, the country's main remembrance ceremony was held in the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, where Prime Minister Jacinda Arden addressed the crowd's assembled and a minute's silence was held.

As the silence came to an end, the sound of a 100-gun salute rang out over Wellington Harbour and white poppies fell from the cenotaph.

Over 330,000 Australians and nearly 10,000 New Zealanders served overseas during the First, with the majority posted on the Western Front alongside British soldiers and their allies.

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan waits to lay a wreath during Remembrance Day commemorations at the WA State War Memorial in King's Park, Perth, Australia

In Singapore, the British High Commission held a service to mark the Armistice centenary at the Kranji War Cemetery, where over 3500 casualties are buried from both world wars.

A special bell was rung and sailors from HMS Argyll, which is currently visiting Singapore, attended the service, along with Gurkha bagpipe players.

In Malaysia wreaths were laid at the cenotaph at the National Monument in Kuala Lumpur during a service organised by the British High Commission.

Armistice Day ceremonies were also held in Fiji at the National War Memorial in Veiuto led by President Jioji Konrote and in Tonga the centenary was marked at the the Cenotaph in Nuku'alofa.

There was also a service at the Coastwatchers' Memorial in Honiara, the capital city of the Solomon Islands.

Remembrance Day services will take place across the UK to mark the Armistice centenary and those killed din the First Word War and other conflicts.

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The Queen and prime minister will attend a service at the cenotaph before travelling to Westminster Abbey.

Events are also taking place in Edinburgh, Glasgow,and other locations across the country and silhouettes of soldiers from the First World War have been projected on to famous UK landmarks

Additional reporting by PA

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