On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the nation will fall silent for two minutes, as it has done for more than a century. Both former members of the armed forces and civilians will be remembering those who laid down their lives for the nation.
Armistice Day came about following the end of hostilities in World War 1, named after the cessation of fighting on the Western Front in France.
The first global war was one of the bloodiest, taking the lives of 6 percent of Britain’s male population.
In 1919, first official Armistice Day was held in the grounds of Buckingham Palace.
It would only be two decades later before war would once again rear its ugly head in Europe, and many more would lay down their lives against the tyranny of fascism.
Since then, it has also been referred to as Remembrance Day, to incorporate those who sacrificed their life in World War 2, and subsequent conflicts the UK has been involved in.
Remembrance Sunday – which this year falls on the 13th – commemorates the contribution of both military and civilian armed service personnel.
Colonel Richard Kemp, who spent nearly three decades in the British Army, explained: “On Armistice Day, we particularly remember our fighting men that were killed in action in World War 1 which ended on this day in 1918.
“On Remembrance Sunday we commemorate all British and allied troops killed in all the wars that our nation has fought.”
He told Express.co.uk: “It is right that we should take time to remember them. They made the ultimate sacrifice.
“Their contribution to our country is infinitely greater than anyone else before or since, whether the most inspirational political leader, the finest scholarly mind, the greatest captain of industry, the most talented sportsman.
“They gave everything: all that they had, all that they might have had, all that they had ever been, all that they might ever have become.”
Col Kemp, who commanded a battalion and Operation Fignal in Afghanistan, said that as a former infantry man, “I particularly remember all those soldiers killed in action that I served with in the Royal Anglian Regiment.”
This year, celebrities have pledged to dedicate their two minutes’ silence to a veteran they have met.
Major Tim Peake – who went from the British Army to an astronaut on the International Space Station – will be remembering Jack Mortimer, a World War 2 veteran who turned 99 last month and, aged just 20 drove a jeep carrying ammunition on Sword Beach as part of the D-Day landings.
Major Peake will pay tribute to “everyone in the armed forces community who has served and sacrificed to protect our way of life, despite having never met us”.
Carol Vorderman, Dragons’ Den investor Deborah Meaden and singer Elaine Paige are also participating.
Baroness Brady, who will be remembering Lisa Evans, commented that the two minutes’ silence “gives us an invaluable opportunity to remember not just what the armed forces has done for us in the past, but also what it continues to do in the present.
“This initiative from the Royal British Legion serves as a great reminder of this, and so I was very happy to play my part in inviting the nation to take a moment to observe this important tradition.”
Col Kemp said that when the clock strikes 11 this morning, he would be remembering his great uncle, Philip Duncan, who was killed in 1917 “just three weeks after arriving at the front line in France”.
He will also be commemorating his cousin, Frank Fisher, a merchant mariner who died when his ship was sunk by a German U-boat in the Atlantic in 1943.
The British Army veteran noted: “They gave their lives that we might live in freedom.”