Nation falls silent for Remembrance Sunday in lockdown

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The country fell silent at 11am today for the first ever Remembrance Sunday to be marked during a national lockdown.

Big Ben signalled the start of the two-minute silence, with a military gun fired to mark the end of the tribute. In London, members of the Royal Family joined Boris Johnson and the armed forces in a scaled-back service, which was closed off to the public for the first time.

The first wreath was laid by Prince Charles on behalf of the Queen, followed by Captain James Boughey, who laid a wreath on behalf of Prince Philip. The Duke of Edinburgh has retired from public royal duties.

Charles then left his own floral tribute and was followed by Prince William and Kate. They then joined the Queen and other senior royals on balconies overlooking the Cenotaph for the two-minute silence.

Former Prime Ministers Sir John Major, Tony Blair, David Cameron and Theresa May were also in attendance, along with current Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Earlier today one Second World War veteran told how he would be spending his Remembrance Sunday at home. Bob Lingwood, 102, usually attends a service at a school in Omgah, Co Tyrone, but it was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Members of the Military attend the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph in London (Picture: Getty Images)

He said: ‘They have a lovely service, and invite me to talk to the students. Last year I told them the story about the unknown warrior in Westminster Abbey. Afterwards we have a session with the children and I get them crowded round me.

‘Obviously we couldn’t do that this year because I’m in lock-in. It’s awful, but I had a beautiful card from them, it must have been made by the pupils, wishing me the best for the day. It was lovely.’

Originally from London, Mr Lingwood joined a Putney-based TA unit called the First Signals Unit as a teenager in 1937. Two years later he was deployed to northern France, which he said was initially quieter and less dangerous than his home city which was being heavily bombed.

Belgium was then invaded and they moved to confront the Germans, but were captured and taken prisoner. But while being marched under armed escort their guard became distracted, and they managed to make a run for it.

Mr Lingwood said: ‘When we got to the other side, we were met by a captain, he interrogated me. At this time, all I had on was trousers and a shirt, I lost all my identification, he said, “I’m sorry, I have to check up on your story”, so we were locked in the guard room for four or five days until they found someone from our unit who recognised us.

‘I’d say very few soldiers were taken prisoner by both sides on the same day.’

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