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Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph

Article posted: Nov 15, 2012 by Sqn Ldr Mayoh-Smith

Emma White is a former CWO from 5F(Northampton) Sqn. On leaving the squadron she returned as a civilian instructor and has recently joined 606(Chiltern)Sqn RAuxAF. Here she gives her account of this year’s Remembrance Service at The Cenotaph in London.
Sunday 11th November, was an early start and with our legs already aching from a total of 2 hours stood at attention we faced another long stand at the cenotaph. The weather was absolutely perfect as we headed into the Wellington Barracks in Central London, there were brilliant blue skies and cool air, brilliant for making the gilding on Buckingham palace shine and more importantly for wearing RAF Greatcoats!

We formed up at 09:30 on the Wellington Barrack Parade ground as a 70 strong RAF contingent including the RAF Regiment (QCS), RAF female representatives, RAF Nurses and the RAuxAF and headed by the Central Band of the Royal Air Force. After a short wait on the roadside we marched up to the cenotaph on Whitehall to join the Navy, Army and Royal Marines. Once in position we then had to stand in our ranks for the next 2 hours without moving, not as easy as it sounds and slightly painful! Unfortunately we did not have a good view of the cenotaph itself so couldn’t see the laying of the poppy wreaths but we could see the thousands of Londoners lining the streets.
After about an hour the march-past began and some 10,000 veterans marched past the cenotaph and past us to the end of Whitehall. It was a very humbling experience to witness the thousands who made some sacrifice however small, march past us with pride, they deserved their moment to shine. After the march-past was finished we marched back to the barracks and then off home.
I feel extremely privileged to have been a part of the remembrance celebrations in London and will never forget the emotions and the memories I have gained.