On 10th November I attended the commemoration of the Unknown Warrior at Victoria Station. The service opened with a short narration and was followed by a minute’s silence to mark the arrival of the Unknown Warrior at Platform 8, Victoria Station in London, after he had been transported by train from Dover. The exhortation followed and wreaths were presented by various organisations in front of the WFA commemorative plaque on the outside Platform 8.
It was a great honour to be at the ceremony. It was the first time that I had attended the service since stepping down as London Branch chair in April 2014. In ten years previous to that, I was actively engaged in attending and participating in the event.During my time as chair, Mike Jackson was the stalwart who took the lead on organising the event, carrying on the tradition that others had started.
The annual ceremony and commemorative plaque was the initiative of the London branch in the mid 1990’s. Kathy Stevenson, then London Branch Chair, worked with Network Rail and other stakeholders to erect the current plaque. In July 1998, it was unveiled by Mr Frank Sumpter at a dedication service. Mr Sumpter was a Great War veteran and one of the pallbearers for the coffin bearing the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey in 1920. On every 10 November since, the London branch has arranged the short ceremony and the minute’s silence . At this year’s ceremony the organisations represented included East London WFA branch, National WFA ExCo and the entire membership, London WFA branch, Gallipoli and Dardanelles International, Southern Rail, Network Rail, the Sea Cadets and the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen.