Remembrance Round-up 2018

13th November 2018

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, people across the world paused to remember those who lost their lives during military operations. In 2018 the ocassion held even greater significance, marking 100 years since the end of the First World War. Today we look back at how the Chelsea Pensioners supported the Centenary commemorations.

Each year, in the weeks leading up to November 11th, the Chelsea Pensioners travel across the country, and around the world, participating in a packed programme of Remembrance events. On 26th October the Chelsea Pensioners once again took part in the official launch of the Royal British Legion's annual Poppy Appeal and could also be found selling poppies across the country in support of the cause.

On November 7th the Chelsea Pensioners were guests of honour at Brompton Cemetery's Battlefields to Butterflies event, helping to dedicate a restored memorial in memory of the 2,625 Chelsea Pensioners buried in the grounds during the late 19th century. They also joined local school children in preparing the ground for a memorial wildflower meadow.

Chelsea Pensioners Memorial

Back at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, a Drumhead Service of Remembrance was held on 9th November, bringing together Pensioners and staff while visiting children from local schools were delighted to join the occasion.

The annual Festival of Remembrance held at the Royal Albert Hall, on November 10th, also saw a procession of Chelsea Pensioners taking part in proceedings.

On Remembrance Day itself, commemorations started in the UK at dawn with Chelsea Pensioner Mike Shanahan, one of 1000 bagpipers across the country, playing a lament at 6am; you can hear Mike from BBC Radio 4's coverage below.

The Governor's Parade also had additional significance, with all Chelsea Pensioners who were not involved elsewhere taking part in the Parade.

Meanwhile, in Whitehall, Chelsea Pensioners marched past the Cenotaph laying a wreath on behalf of everyone at the Royal Hospital Chelsea. Over on the Thames, Chelsea Pensioner, Rick, joined a flotilla of boats laying a wreath on the water besides Westminster.

The Chelsea Pensioners and the Royal Hospital also featured heavily in media broadcasts throughout the day. BBC Radio 4 featured a Remembrance special Sunday Worship recorded in the Wren Chapel and with performances from the Chapel Choir.

A tea dance held in the Great Hall featuring Chelsea Pensioners, serving soldiers and stars of BBC's Strictly was shown on the live results show on Sunday evening, while the ITV documentary, Britain's Poppies also featured the nation's Army veterans.

The Remembrance season is a particular busy one for active service personnel and veterans across the country and the Royal Hospital is proud to support the Chelsea Pensioners at this poignant time of year and thank each and every one of them for their magnificent contribution during the centenary commemorations.

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View the archive

Brompton Cemetery Seed Sowing
Sowing wildflowers in memory of past Chelsea Pensioners

On 6 May, Chelsea Pensioners and members of the Royal Hospital’s grounds team joined representatives from the Royal Parks, the Royal Parks Guild and the Friends of Brompton Cemetery to sow a patch of wildflower seeds in Brompton Cemetery as part of the Battlefields and Butterflies initiative.

Chelsea Pensioner Centenarians
100 years old and still going strong

Recent research backs up the anecdote that Chelsea Pensioners not only live considerably longer than their peers outside (by over five years, on average), but that their lifetimes once they come to the Royal Hospital are extending, year on year. This strongly suggests that the care and community here contribute to greater longevity – as well as improving quality of life. 


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