A two-minute silence has marked the 100-year anniversary of the British Unknown Warrior’s journey to Victoria railway station before his burial at Westminster Abbey.
In 1920, the body of the British Unknown Warrior arrived on platform 8 at Victoria from Dover at 8.32pm on November 10, and lay there overnight before internment at Westminster Abbey on November 11.
Exactly 100 years later, colleagues from GTR’s Southern, Southeastern and Network Rail held a two-minute silence while ceremonially guarding Southern’s Poppy train, which arrived on platform 8 at 8.32pm, with wreaths laid to mark the railway team’s respect.
Initial plans for a public event to mark the centenary were scaled back in order to adhere to current lockdown rules.
Nicole Cohen-Wray, stations director for Network Rail’s Southern region, said: “The Unknown Warrior represents the selfless sacrifice of so many, who fought and lost their life in the war so that we could be free.
“I’m sorry we have not been able to mark this special occasion in the way we initially hoped, but proud that the railway family was able to come together to pay our respects to the Unknown Warrior, 100 years later, at Victoria station.”
At 8.32pm on November 10, 1920 the unidentified British soldier arrived at Victoria station in a special railway carriage.
“His body lay at the station overnight before he was laid to rest at Westminster Abbey the next day – the ‘Unknown Warrior’ has in the years since become an important reminder of the sacrifice that comes with conflict.”
To this day, the soldier’s tombstone is the only one in the Abbey on which it is forbidden to walk.
The grave is capped with a black Belgian marble stone featuring an inscription by Herbert Edward Ryle, Dean of Westminster, and was engraved with brass from melted down wartime ammunition.
Pictured top: Chris Fowler, customer services director for Southern, welcomes the poppy train into platform 8, driven by forces veteran, Marc Stoner
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.