British, Portuguese and Spanish residents gathered in the British Cemetery in Elvas on November 11th to remember the 60,000 British and their Allies who fell during the Peninsular War.
Wreaths were laid on the grave of Maj.Gen. Daniel Houghton, for whom the cemetery was opened in 1811, and on the Albuera and Badajoz Walls. Flowers were laid on behalf of the Camaras of Elvas, Badajoz and Albuera.
ORDER OF CEREMONY 2016
Member Stewart Streeting welcomed everyone to the ceremony at 10.55 hrs and thanked them for attending. He informed them that he was honoured once again to be in Elvas with them all on such an important occasion. The Greek Philosopher Thucydides once said, “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, both glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
He stated that we are all here to remember each of our Countries bravest, to remember their achievements and to say thank you for their sacrifices. In the past many did not ask go to war nor did they do so because they loved fighting. They were ordinary people who responded in extraordinary ways in extreme times but they all shared several qualities. They possessed courage, integrity, pride, determination, selflessness and dedication to duty.
Your presence here today, that of the people who will be stood in silence at 1100hrs, and those that will be stood still at 1100hrs on Remembrance Sunday this weekend and those who wear the poppy are a tribute to those lost soldiers and their families. It is a way that we say, “ We remember”.
From the soldiers who fell during the various battles in the Peninsular War, those who shivered and starved through many cold winters, those who died of disease and illness, soldiers who paid the ultimate price in the 2 World Wars, to the young men and women who have fallen in more recent conflicts, such as Iraq or in the mountains of Afghanistan, we remember and honour them all.
10.58hrs – Bugler “Last Post”
The Last Post is a final farewell, symbolising the fact that the duties of the dead soldiers are now over and that they can rest in peace. It begins the period of silent reflection.
Two minutes silence
11.02hrs – Bugler “Reveille”
Reveille ends the period of silent reflection and is from the French word ‘Reveillez’ meaning “Wake up”. Its purpose is to wake up the sleeping soldiers. The two tunes symbolize sunset and sunrise respectively, and therefore, death and resurrection.
Remember Me (The voice of the dead) by Harry Riley (read by Lola Ashwood)
Duty called and I went to war
Though I’d never fired a gun before
I paid the price for your new day
As all my dreams were blown away
We all stood true as whistles blew
And faced the shell and stench of hell
Now battle’s done, there is no sound
Our bones decay beneath the ground
We cannot see, or smell, or hear
There is no death, or hope, or fear
Once we, like you, would laugh and talk
And run and walk and do the things that you all do
But now we lie in rows so neat
Beneath the soil, beneath your feet
In mud and gore and the blood of war
We fought and fell and move no more
Remember me, I am not dead
I’m just a voice within your head
Prayers and Blessing – Fr Mark Wilson
End of Ceremony
A moth eaten rag on a worm eaten pole
It does not look likely to stir a man’s soul
Tis the deeds that were done ‘neath the moth eaten rag
When the pole was a staff and the rag was a flag
With thanks to Member Jackie Kennard