Centenary Battle Day Thanksgiving Service
A commemorative service was held at the Admiralty church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, off Trafalgar Square, at 11.00 am on Monday, 8 December to remember those who fought in the battles of Coronel (1 November 1914) and the Falkland Islands (8 December 1914).
The service was attended by over 400 people including representatives of the British and German navies, Service organisations and Ship Associations, as well as descendants of those who took part in the battles. Those officiating at the service included the Rt. Rev'd Nigel Stock (Bishop for the Falkland Islands and Bishop to the Armed Forces), Chaplain of the Fleet, the Rev'd Scott Brown and Rev'd Annegret Wirges, the German Military Chaplain in Brussels. Bishop Stephen Venner (former Bishop for the Falkland Islands and to the Armed Forces) gave the address. There were readings by the Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral David Steel, and by the German Defence Attache, Brigadier General Martin Hein. The service included an Act of Remembrance with the Last Post and Reveille sounded by a bugler of the Royal Marine band, Portsmouth.
Wreaths were laid, among others, by Ms Anna Soubry, MOD Minister for Veterans, the Second Sea Lord, German and Canadian Defence Attaches, and a representative of the Falkland Islands Government, Mr Roger Edwards MLA, (who also read Binyon's exhortation during the Act of Remembrance).
The standards were blessed on the portico of the church immediately after the service before the standard bearers and their escorts paraded for inspection by the Second Sea Lord and Brigadier General Hein on the north side of the church. Cadets from the Royal Naval College at Pangbourne provided escorts for some of the standards. A Book of Remembrance was signed by many of those attending. This will be sent to the Falkland Islands for display in the Museum in Stanley.
There was a reception for invited guests at the Charing Cross (Amba) hotel on the Strand immediately after the service. Excerpts from the newly restored 1927 film of the Battles of Coronel and the Falkland Islands were shown by a representative of the British Film Institute (BFI). There was also a slide show display of contemporary photographs of the Islands.
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