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The Unknown Soldier was interred on Armistice Day, 1920

Posted in Anniversary, Historical articles, History, Religion, War, World War 1 on Monday, 29 October 2012

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This edited article about the Unknown Soldier originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 774 published on 13th November 1975.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, picture, image, illustration

The tomb of the Unkown Soldier in Westminster Abbey

After the First World War (1914-18), many countries wanted to express their gratitude to the ordinary men who fought so gallantly in such horrifying conditions.

A British chaplain who had served in Flanders suggested that an unknown soldier be chosen from the many who lay in unmarked graves and buried in Westminster Abbey, as a representative of the multitude who had lost their lives. It was further suggested that the ceremonial burial should take place on the same day as the Cenotaph at Whitehall was formally consecrated – Armistice Day, 11 November, 1920.

Strict precautions were taken to ensure that the chosen soldier should remain anonymous. A number of bodies were brought from different areas, and from these one was secretly chosen. A coffin bearing the body was brought to Boulogne where it was put on board ship for England.

After the ceremony at the Cenotaph, the coffin was borne in procession to the Abbey. King George V headed those who solemnly walked behind it. It was buried in soil brought from France amidst the famous men and women buried in the Abbey.

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