Remembrance Sunday is held on the second Sunday of November every year to honour Britain’s war dead.
In 2023, it follows neatly one day after Armistice Day on Saturday 11 November, which specifically honours the signing of the ceasefire agreement that brought the First World War to an end at 11am on 11 November 1918, a prelude to the peace negotiations that would finally be completed with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles the following June.
The two Remembrance dates are marked in the UK by ceremonies across the country in memory of those who have given their lives fighting for their country and its most visible symbol is the poppy, sold by the Royal British Legion (RBL) since 1921 as a means of raising donations to support the servicemen and women of today and worn on the lapel as a gesture of respect.
On Armistice Day, the annual Festival of Remembrance takes place at the Royal Albert Hall, which will be broadcast on BBC One at 9pm and feature classical music, patriotic readings and recitals and a spectacular display of military pageantry from the historic Kensington auditorium.
“This year, we pay tribute to the two million National Servicemen who served in the post-war years up until 1963,” the RBL says of the upcoming event.
“Hundreds lost their lives, particularly during the Korean War, and we mark 70 years since the end of the fighting. We also acknowledge the unique contribution of the Windrush Generation, 75 years after the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush, which is symbolic for the settlers from the Caribbean who helped rebuild Britain. We honour too those who served in the Battle of the Atlantic 80 years ago, the longest campaign of the Second World War.”
You can see the full schedule for the programme here.
The key event of Remembrance Sunday itself is the televised National Service of Remembrance, which sees a parade of veterans march through central London in dress uniform and the royal family join the prime minister, the leader of the opposition, members of the Cabinet, the mayor of London and other dignitaries to lay floral wreaths at the foot of the Cenotaph in Whitehall to remember the fallen.
The service, according to the RBL, “provides the nation with a physical reminder of all those who have served and sacrificed, with British and Commonwealth soldiers, sailors, airmen and women represented, together with members of the emergency services and civilians, ensuring that no-one is forgotten”.
There will also be a major service at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas near Lichfield in Staffordshire on Sunday, which you can find out more about here.
A host of other Remembrance Sunday services, commemorations, concerts and parades will be taking place in towns and cities across the country and a two-minute silence will be observed nationwide at 11am.
For events in your area, please check your local listings.