The Remembrance Day parade and service in St Albans will return to its traditional morning time after being held in the evening last year. The annual event was switched to 6.30pm on the centenary of the First World War’s end to coincide with a nationwide beacon-lighting event. A beacon was set ablaze as darkness fell at the City’s War Memorial in St Peter’s Street, at many of the District’s parishes and hundreds of locations across the country.
More than twice as many people turned out for the parade, featuring representatives of the armed services and other groups, as it normally attracts.However, it will revert to its usual time in future years of 10.30am, just before the two-minute silence at 11am.
The move was supported by a meeting of St Albans City and District Council’s Community, Environment and Sport Scrutiny Committee on Thursday 17 January. A report about last year’s Remembrance Day events was considered by the Councillors.
The Council worked with other organisations, including Hertfordshire Constabulary and the Cathedral, on a series of activities known as St Albans Remembers. One of the main commemorative events was the Poppy Field illuminations inside the Cathedral for two days in late October. This was a huge success and such was the interest that visitors were queuing up for over an hour to gain entry.
On Remembrance Day, Sunday 11 November, there were three main events in the City Centre including the evening parade. A lone piper played the Battle’s O’er at 6am outside the Cathedral as part of another nationwide event and at 11am there was the traditional two-minute silence at the War Memorial. Other activities included a display of giant poppies on lampposts throughout St Peter’s Street. Three wire-framed silhouettes of British soldiers, nicknamed Tommies, were put up at City Centre locations as part of a national campaign called There But Not There.
A local campaign, called St Albans Rocks, encouraged people – especially young children – to paint rocks in remembrance of named soldiers from St Albans who were killed in the Great War. The rocks were displayed in the garden by the Memorial.
St Albans Museum + Gallery held two exhibitions, running through October and November, which highlighted aspects of the Great War. These were visited by around 20,000 people.
Source: news release from St Albans City & District Council