NEWS
11/11/2011 03:25 GMT | Updated 10/01/2012 05:12 GMT

Armistice Day: Britons To Fall Silent To Remember War Dead

Britons at home are to join those serving in Afghanistan in falling silent to remember the nation's war dead.

The two-minute silence at 11am will be particularly poignant for those at Camp Bastion, who are mourning the loss of the latest soldier to be killed on active service.

Private Matthew Thornton, 28, from the 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, was killed by an IED while on patrol in Babaji on Wednesday. His family paid tribute to him on Thursday night as a "dedicated soldier" who "loved life".

Thousands of troops are to take part in a parade to mark Armistice Day, to be attended by new Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.

War memorials across the UK's villages, towns and cities will be the focal point for those observing the silence to mark the moment the First World War came to an end. The agreement between Germany and the Allies after four years of fighting took effect at the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918 - Armistice Day.

In London, the Cenotaph will be the focus for a poignant remembrance service organised by the Western Front Association. Brother Nigel Cave, the association's padre, will lead the ceremony which will see wreaths laid at the monument in Whitehall.

General Sir David Richards, Chief of the Defence Staff, and the professional head of the British Army General Sir Peter Wall will attend along with servicemen and women.

The simple ceremony will mirror the rest of the country by observing a two-minute silence at 11am.

Television stars will pay their own tribute to Britain's fallen at a Trafalgar Square event which will feature musical performances and readings. Among the performers will be Downton Abbey actor Dan Stevens, Strictly Come Dancing's Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace, singing trio the Soldiers and soprano starlet Laura Wright. The event will also feature the first screening of a video showing Dame Vera Lynn and Alesha Dixon's new version of classic Second World War anthem We'll Meet Again.

At the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, a service of remembrance will be attended by local and national dignitaries including armed forces minister Nick Harvey. The monument is designed so that at 11am on November 11 a shaft of sunlight passes though a slot in its inner and outer walls and hits a central bronze wreath sculpture.