Armistice Day 2016: Two minutes’ stillnes marks day of national remembrance – BBC News

Media captionPeople fall silent and Prince Harry reads a war lyric to mark Armistice Day

A two-minute silence has been observed across the UK to recollected the nation’s war dead for Armistice Day.

Prince Harry has laid a wreath at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire for the commemorations.

Silence fell at 11:00 GMT to remember servicemen and women killed in battle.

England and Scotland footballers are expected to risk transgressing Fifa rules forbidding “political statements” when they wear poppy armbands at their World Cup qualifying match at Wembley later.

People gathered at war monuments and in schools, offices and other public places across the UK to pause for two minutes to commemorate the moment the firearms fell silent for peace at the end of World War One, on 11 November 1918.

Hundreds of people attended the Royal British Legion’s Silence in the Square event in Trafalgar Square, where poppies were laid in the fountains and music was performed by a range of artists including Russell Watson.

A service of remembrance was also held at the Cenotaph, where vocalist Cerys Matthews read the poem In Memoriam by Ewart Alan Mackintosh.

At the scene

Image copyright PA

Sarah Campbell, BBC News, in Trafalgar Square

The sun shone and as 11 o’clock approached, Trafalgar Square filled with people of all ages.

They listened to moving lyrics and songs and as the The Last Post began at one minute to 11:00 GMT, all traffic was stopped and one of London’s busiest squares fell silent.

The Royal British Legion which organised this event has called for a “rethinking” of Remembrance, asking people to think not just of those who died in the two world wars but more recent conflicts as well.

After a bugler signalled the end of the two minutes’ silence, the traffic restarted and hundreds of poppy petals were scattered into Trafalgar Square’s fountains representing those who sacrificed themselves for others in conflict.

In Bristol, 19,240 shrouded figures were laid out on College Green, each one representing a soldier who was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Prince Harry read Rupert Brooke’s poem The Soldier, written at the beginning of the war, as part of the service at the National Memorial Arboretum.

How do we remember World War One ?

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Prince Harry also joined a military parade with veterans and serving members of the armed forces at the Arboretum, which since 2001 has been a national site of remembrance
Image copyright PA Image caption Veterans observe a two-minute silence outside the Hall of Memory in Birmingham
Image copyright PA Image caption Some of the hundreds of hand-painted pebbles at the foot of the Tommy Statue in Seaham, County Durham

The Prince of Wales has attended a service in Bahrain, where he laid a wreath and met senior military representatives and UK veterans working in the Middle East.

The Royal British Legion charity has organised dozens of events for Friday following weeks of fundraising by selling poppies.

Armistice Day is followed by Remembrance Sunday on 13 November, when royals and senior politicians pay their respects at the Cenotaph memorial in London.

Media captionHow the poppy tradition began

Meanwhile, the Football Associations of England and Scotland have said they will let players wear black armbands with poppy emblems despite a warn from Fifa, football’s governing body, that doing so could violate regulations banning “political, religious or commercial” messages.

However, Fifa has since issued a statement saying it has not banned England and Scotland players from wearing armbands featuring the poppy as has been reported, because it cannot pre-judge what symbols would constitute such a breach.

Both FAs have said they are willing to face any penalty – though they insist it will not be submitted to that.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption People gather around the 19,240 figurines that have been laid out on College Green, Bristol
Image copyright PA Image caption Two minutes’ stillnes is observed in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh
Image copyright Reuters Image caption A poppy is placed in a fountain during the course of its Silence in the Square event in Trafalgar Square

In events to mark Armistice Day across the UK 😛 TAGEND A Field of Remembrance has been planted in the grounds of Westminster Abbey, with separate fields across the country including in Staffordshire, Cardiff, Royal Wootton Bassett, Belfast and Gateshead. The fields feature a combined total of 120, 000 tributes of a poppy and personal message to someone who lost their life in service A service at Edinburgh’s Scott Monument will see veterans and politicians lay wreaths, and Edinburgh Castle’s gun was fired at 11:00 GMT Bristol College Green will host 19,240 hand-knitted shrouds to mark each soldier who died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme The Western Front Association holds an annual service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall in London where veterans and serving personnels will lay wreaths Image caption Soldiers and civilians celebrate Armistice Day on 11 November 1918