There are more than 100,000 war memorials across the United Kingdom and many of them will be the focus of reflection for Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday. This year, 11 November, which commemorates the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 when the guns of the Western Front fell silent after four years of war, falls on a Sunday, so the two special days to remember those who lost their lives in war become one.
The first Two Minute Silence in London, on Tuesday 11 November 1919, was reported the next day in the Manchester Guardian;
The first stroke of eleven produced a magical effect. The tram cars glided into stillness, motors ceased to cough and fume, and stopped dead, and the mighty-limbed dray horses hunched back upon their loads and stopped also, seeming to do it of their own volition. Someone took off his hat, and with a nervous hesitancy the rest of the men bowed their heads also. Here and there an old soldier could be detected slipping unconsciously into the posture of 'attention'. An elderly woman, not far away, wiped her eyes, and the man beside her looked white and stern. Everyone stood very still ... The hush deepened. It had spread over the whole city and become so pronounced as to impress one with a sense of audibility. It was a silence which was almost pain ... And the spirit of memory brooded over it all.
The RAF Memorial stands in a fine position on Embankment, looking south over the river, and with its back to the Ministry of Defence. Erected in 1923, it is a tribute to the men and women of the RAF. In 1946 additional inscriptions were added in memory of those who died in the Second World War
Per Ardua ad Astra the motto of the Royal Air Force translates as Through Struggles to the Stars