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Anzac remembrance in London

Dawn service at the Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner. Photo credit: NZ High Commission

Last Thursday, 25 April, was Anzac Day, when we remember the sacrifice of New Zealanders and Australians who have served and died in military conflicts since Gallipoli. London was host to several remembrance services throughout the day, attended by large crowds, including some of our trustees. 

The day began with a Dawn Service at the NZ and Australian Memorials at Hyde Park Corner. The service opened with a haka pōwhiri by Ngāti Rānana London Māori Club. Readings and hymns followed before Phil Goff, New Zealand High Commissioner for the UK and trustee of the NZUK Link Foundation, gave the Anzac address. Goff, who had close family members who died in service in both World Wars and the conflict in Afghanistan, gave a poignant address about the spirit of Anzac remembrance. Wreaths were laid at Wellington Arch by HRH, The Duke of Edinburgh, Phil Goff, the Australian High Commissioner, Stephen Smith and representatives of the New Zealand, Australian and British armed forces. The service concluded with the Ode read by Brigadier Jim Bliss of the New Zealand Army, a two-minute silence and a prayer for peace and those in active service, with attendees leaving Hyde Park Corner as dawn broke, accompanied by the haunting sounds of a Didgeridoo. 

Wreath-laying profession at the Cenotaph. Photo credit: UK Ministry of Defence

Proceedings moved to Whitehall, where a wreath-laying parade was opened by a reflection by Aaron Knott, Chaplain Class Three of the New Zealand Army, who had also welcomed attendees at the Dawn service. At 11 o’clock HRH, the Duke of Edinburgh laid the first wreath at the Cenotaph, followed by representatives of the British, New Zealand and Australian governments and armed forces, as well as senior representatives of both houses of parliament, major political parties and the Mayors of London and Westminster. 

NZ High Commissioner Phil Goff and his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith laying wreaths in Westminster Abbey. Photo credit: NZ High Commission

The day concluded with a service of commemoration and thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey. This remembrance was marked by many powerful and evocative readings, including those by young school children. In a break from tradition, serving members of the New Zealand and Australian Army, in the UK to train the Ukrainian Armed Forces, read the Ode of Remembrance and For The Fallen. On behalf of the Royal Family, the Duke of Edinburgh was again in attendance, accompanied by current and former members of British, New Zealand, Australian, Commonwealth and Turkish Armed Forces. The Last Post and Reveille were sounded at each of the 3 services by a bugler from the band of the Royal Marines, Portsmouth, with New Zealand and Australian singers offering rousing renditions of their national anthems.

Crowds at the Dawn remembrance service. Photo credit: NZ High Commission


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