The Cenotaph, Whitehall, London

At the centre of the nation’s remembrance services, the Cenotaph was originally a part of the Peace Day events of July 1919. From the Greek meaning ‘Empty Tomb’, the Cenotaph was designed and built by Edwin Lutyens initially as a wood and plaster construction. However such was the extent of public enthusiasm for the construction it was decided that it should become a permanent and lasting memorial. Made from Portland stone, it was unveiled in 1920 and the inscription reads simply “The Glorious Dead”.

On the Sunday nearest to 11th November at 11am each year, a Remembrance Service is held at the Cenotaph to commemorate British and Commonwealth servicemen and women who died in the two World Wars and later conflicts. The service has changed little since it was first introduced in 1921, with a two minute silence observed on the eleventh hour indicated by the sound of Big Ben and a cannon salute from the nearby Horse Guards Parade. Official wreaths are laid on the steps and this is followed by a march past of war veterans. At one stage it was thought that with the passing of the WW1 generation that the services may have died out. In fact, it has become a symbol to the nation and more people are attending and marching than ever before.

The photographs above were taken by John Reffell at the service held in 2007.