In the UK, Remembrance Sunday is held on the second Sunday in November, the Sunday nearest to 11 November – Armistice Day – and the anniversary of the end of the First World War. Remembrance Sunday is held “to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts” (wiki).
But how to best commemorate it when I live in Singapore and it’s not part of any regular church services – as it is all over England?
It is rather an early start but the British High Commission, in partnership with the Singapore Armed Forces Veterans’ League, organise a lovely service up at Kranji War Memorial, which was at the startlingly early time of 730am this morning. I had planned to be there but sadly my Sunday mornings are not hugely functioning. The 30-minute ceremony, which happens every year, is attended by members of the diplomatic corps, military and representatives of Singapore’s major religions and is open to everyone.
I’m ashamed to say that I although I have been to Kranji to buy veg, I have not visited the war memorial before. Today was a good time to correct that. I may have missed the official ceremony but decided I could at least take Cost Centre #1 and #2 there this afternoon.
It is dedicated to the men and women from United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka, India, Malaya, the Netherlands and New Zealand who died defending Singapore and Malaya against the invading Japanese forces during World War II.
The cemetery is the final resting place for 4,458 allied servicemen in marked graves laid out row upon row on beautifully manicured lawns, maintained by the War Graves Committee.
Over 850 of these graves are unidentified – which always make me feel desperately sad. We placed a poppy at the foot of this one:
A highly emotional place to visit at the best of times, it felt even more poignant being here today.
To end this post in the words of Laurence Binyon, the poem which always makes me cry and which I saw replicated at various tube stations when I was in London last week:
If you want to get hold of a poppy in time for 11th November here’s a list, courtesy of the British High Commission, of shops, clubs, schools and restaurants where you can buy them. Extra points to Smith’s Fish & Chips for being the most unlikely poppy seller out there.
In case you missed it, here’s a re-run of my recent post on the Tower of London poppy installation which has been initiated in honor of all who died in WWI.
Poppy image, at very top of post, courtesy of Davy Goat.