Remembering the deadliest conflict in history

Rows of poppy crosses commemorate the fallen.
Rows of poppy crosses commemorate the fallen. / SUR
  • Consulates across Spain will mark the centenary of the end of WWI with several solemn acts of remembrance this weekend

Sunday 11 November will mark the centenary of the end of World War I and to commemorate the occasion, the British and German governments are promoting a special programme of bell ringing as a symbolic way of remembering the importance of peace. President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will attend the service at the Cenotaph in London, and this will be the first time a German leader has laid a wreath at the ceremony.

The British Embassy in Madrid and Consulates across Spain will also mark the centenary of the Armistice. Bells will be rung at many churches in Spain and the bilateral collaboration will be marked by several solemn acts of remembrance for the estimated 17 million people who lost their lives in one of the deadliest conflicts in the history of the human race.

HMA Simon Manley and German ambassador Wolfgang Dold will give readings at the Remembrance Day service at St George's Church in Madrid. The British ambassador will also attend an event at the German ambassador's residence, during which, Dr Robert-Benjamin Gerwarth will host a talk under the banner of '100 years after. Why has Europe not found peace after the First World War?'

Simon Manley explained his delight at being able to stand alongside his German counterpart to mark reconciliation and the peace that exists between the two nations, claiming that "all Europeans are bound together by their common aspirations for peace".

"As we remember the fallen on 11 November, it is important to reflect on the importance of reconciliation and explore how, especially at a time when some seek to provoke discord and intolerance, we can build bridges where others want to build walls," the ambassador declared earlier this month.

In Barcelona, HM Consul Lloyd Milen will host a youth debate, together with his French and German counterparts, on the perspectives of European Youth over the last 100 years.

The traditional two-minute silence will start the Armistice Day Ceremony in Gibraltar, which will include the laying of wreaths and an interdenominational service.

Veterans in their various units and members of the Gibraltar Branch of the Royal British Legion, members of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment and other military units will take part in the Governor's Remembrance Parade.

The government has also supported the publication of a book which focuses on the role that Gibraltar played during World War I. The book, Putting Cargoes Through: The US Navy at Gibraltar during the First World War 1917-1919, was written by Rear Admiral Albert Niblack and is his memoir of his time as the Commander of US Navy ships based in Gibraltar in that period.

Royal British Legion Spain South

The Royal British Legion Spain South has organised several Remembrance Day services along the Costa del Sol. Ex-military personnel and the families and friends of those who served, and still serve, will participate in parades and services in Malaga and Fuengirola. There will also be inland services in Coín and Mollina.

A Remembrance Service will be held at St George's Church in the English Cemetery in Malaga. The service, which is organised by the Royal Air Forces Association Costa del Sol, will be followed by a wreath laying ceremony at the Commonwealth War Graves. Wreaths will be laid by the British Consul to Malaga, Charmaine Arbouin, representatives from the Royal Air Forces Association, Royal British Legion, Royal Naval Association, The English Cemetery Foundation and the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes. There will also be two representatives from the Royal Australian Air Force in attendance.

The Coín branch of the RBL will hold its Armistice Day ceremony in the Cemetery Chapel in Coín. As in previous years, the TAPAS choir will participate in the service, after which, the mayor of Coín, Fernando Fernandez, and Guardia Civil captain, Bernabé Moya Ortiz, will lay wreathes in honour of the fallen.

Several branches of the RBL will come together in the Salon Varietés Theatre in Fuengirola to mark the occasion. The 1st Fuengirola scout group will take part in the opening parade, along with senior members and standards from the Mijas Costa, Benalmádena and Marbella branches of the RBL.

The Mollina branch of the RBL will hold a service and parade in the Parque La Viña in Mollina at 11am on Saturday 10 November. Several members of the branch will also participate in the Governor's Parade in Gibraltar on Sunday.

Other Armistice Day events include a memorial brunch at La Sala Banús to raise funds for the Marbella branch of the RBL, while the Times Bar in La Cala will show the Remembrance Day celebrations live from London, followed by a free lunch for ex-service personnel and RBL members.