Remembrance round-up 2019

5th November 2019

Chelsea Pensioners get involved with a host of remembrance events across the UK and overseas. This year, Pensioners are representing us at locations from Blackheath to Bahrain, Pontefract to Paris.

We’re proud that we will once again have a presence at iconic events including the annual Cenotaph Remembrance Sunday Parade on 10 November – where able-bodied Pensioners will push their less mobile peers in wheelchairs – and the Annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on 9 November.

The St Paul’s Garden of Remembrance service

Brian Connor was one of 16 Pensioners who attended the Garden of Remembrance service at St Paul’s Cathedral, which he described as “impressive”. The Pensioners joined guests including the Lord Mayor of London, Masters of the City Livery Companies, the Ceremonial Squad of the London Ambulance Service and choirs from the City of London School and the City of London School for Girls at the cathedral. The service, conducted by the Dean of St Paul’s, included the Last Post, a two-minute silence, hymns and the planting of around 150 crosses.  After the service, the Band of the Welsh Guards accompanied a Parade of Standards before the public were admitted to plant their own poppies in the garden. Brian describes the atmosphere as “moving, sombre and respectful”.

Pensioners mark Remembrance Day in a host of ways

However, Pensioners will also be participating in a host of more unusual remembrance events – from a poppy appeal launch in a mosque in Morden, to a school remembrance day service in Chelsea, a ceremony on behalf of the Polish ex-combatants association in Perth and even a remembrance ceremony at a National Football League match at Wembley . 

Pensioners will also be selling poppies in locations ranging from Jersey and Guernsey to Waterloo station and outside the Ministry of Defence. 

Here’s a taste of some of the more unusual remembrance events Pensioners are attending this year.

Poppy cabs

Now in its 10thyear, the Poppy Cabs initiative will make it easier for veterans to attend the Remembrance Service by providing over 1000 free taxi journeys on 10 November. Nine Chelsea Pensioners will take part in an occasion that brings together the scarlet coats and black cabs that are so characteristic of traditional London. 

Railway memorial service

In 1919, a service commemorating the railway workers who fought in World War I was held at St Paul’s Cathedral. On 6 November, part of this service will be replicated at Southwark Cathedral. The original event was attended by King George V and around 7,000 railway workers. This year, the Royal Family, families connected with the original service and other people from Britain and Ireland’s railway industry will come together to commemorate the rail industry’s contribution to the Great War and the workers who lost their lives. Four Chelsea Pensioners will join them.

Wreath-laying at the Animals in War memorial 

It isn’t only people who lose their lives in war. A moving memorial in Hyde Park commemorates the many animals who served and died under British military command. Carved from Portland stone and featuring mules, a dog and horse cast from bronze, its inscription pays tribute to the ‘many and various animals that served and died alongside British and allied forces’ and concludes: ‘From the pigeon to the elephant they all played a vital role in every region of the world in the cause of human freedom. Their contribution must never be forgotten.’

Each year, a wreath is laid at the monument to remember the animals who died. On 8 November this year, a Chelsea Pensioner will be present at the ceremony.

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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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