Drumhead Service of Remembrance

9th November 2018

Drumhead ServiceToday Chelsea Pensioners, Royal Hospital staff and local school children took part in a Drumhead Service ahead of Remembrance Sunday this weekend.

The service took place in the Royal Hospital’s iconic Figure Court against the backdrop of the statue of our Royal Founder, King Charles II.  The Drumhead Service originated in the 1700’s when soldiers about to go into battle required a place for reflection and remembrance of their fallen comrades in the face of difficult times ahead. A Drumhead Service is a church service conducted “in the field” during armed conflict. Lacking any means of transport to take the soldiers to church, the Regimental Padre would conduct the service in the field and use the Regimental drums, piled neatly and draped with appropriate colours (national or regimental flags, for example) to create a platform upon which he could place a bible and other pieces of equipment he required to conduct a formal service.

Every year, the Royal Hospital conducts its own Drumhead Service of Remembrance which includes readings, hymns, the last post, followed by a two minute silence and a wreath laying, to commemorate all those soldiers who lost their lives in conflict.

Wreaths made by school children laid at the foot of King Charles II statue

Local school children from Holy Trinity, St. Cuthberts, Christ Church, St Gabriels CE Primary, St Josephs, Queensgate and Kensington Prep School were invited to join the commemorations this year and augment their classroom learning on Remembrance over the past few weeks. Many students created beautiful handmade poppies and wreaths for the occasion which were laid at the foot of the statue of King Charles and on the steps of the Wren Chapel following the service and will remain there for the duration of the Remembrance period.

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