Thousands of marchers have passed the Cenotaph for a “people’s procession” 100 years after Armistice Day.
The march, described as a “nation’s thank you” to all those who fought in the First World War, saw descendants of veterans from across the country join together on Remembrance Sunday.
The march started in the Mall before turning into Whitehall, where about 10,000 people streamed past the Cenotaph memorial which looked over hundreds of poppy wreathes.
Marion Lewis and her sister Dorothy Heslop were marching for their grandfather, Private John Waters of the 23rd Battalion Middlesex Regiment.
He received a serious head wound at the Somme in October 1916 which left him missing part of his skull.
As girls growing up, it was an unspoken rule not to ask granddad about the war, they said.
Ms Heslop said: “They did not expect him to survive so they left him outside the medical tent and we think it’s the cold that probably saved him.”
Jackie Sheridan, whose great-great uncle Oliver Davies died aged just 21 while serving near Jerusalem, was also taking part.
He was a driver for the Royal Engineers who died on December 2, 1917, from a stray bullet while taking animals to water – and his family still have the letter written from his captain informing his mother of his death.
She said: “It’s a very proud moment to represent my family who are descendants.
“It’s going to be emotional to see everybody here, knowing there’s 10,000 of us.”
The Duke of Cambridge lays a wreath during the remembrance service at the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall, central London, on the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice which marked the end of the First World War. 📷@AndyMatthews_PApic.twitter.com/06Q8mqaSsT
— Press Association (@PA) November 11, 2018
She was wearing a Land Army badge that belonged to her grandmother Valda Davies, who received it a few years before she died.
Wiping away tears, she said: “That was very important to her.”
Wearing poppies and medals and carrying wreaths, hundreds gathered from 9am to mark 100 years since the guns fell silent.
Big screens were erected so those waiting could view the Cenotaph service, and at 11am all fell silent.
Bells rang out to mark the celebration 100 years ago as the first marchers made their way to the memorial.
— Jemma Crew (@jemmacrew) November 11, 2018
Jane Harman, a former teacher at St Mary’s CoE in Finchley Central, told of the moment she discovered the first British soldier thought to have died in the war had gone to the school.
Private John Parr attended the primary school for six months when he was four years old, she said.
Standing in the Mall ahead of the march, she said: “I remember receiving the email – it was at the end of the day and most of the school had gone home, and I was so excited that I raced down to the head teacher’s office saying ‘he came here, he’s an ex pupil!'”
Before she left the primary school three years ago, she made sure a plaque bearing his name had been installed in his memory.
Her leaving present was a necklace made out of brass artillery from Flanders, where her great-great uncle Robert Connelly died in 1915.
She is also wearing a poppy which contains ground-up mud from the places where the first and last British soldier are believed to have died.