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Remembrance Sunday: Captain Tom Moore tells LBC 'the spirit is there'

8 November 2020, 11:28 | Updated: 8 November 2020, 14:41

By Joe Cook

Captain Sir Tom Moore today issued a rallying cry for the nation to take part in remembering those who lost their lives in conflict and said he hopes normal ceremonies can resume next year.

"We can't gather in great numbers but the spirit is there," Captain Tom, who raised millions of pounds for the NHS during the first wave of the Covid crisis, told LBC's Swarbrick on Sunday.

The nation was remembering those who lost their lives in conflicts today, falling silent at 11am, with services scaled back due to the coronavirus crisis.

Captain Tom raised £33m for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his Bedfordshire garden before his 100th birthday earlier this year.

He said: "Next year, maybe, we can all get together again and all the thousands of people who walk past the Cenotaph will be able to do that again because it is so important, remembering the people who gave their lives."

Speaking to LBC's Tom Swarbrick, he said today was "a very special day".

"For every year I've remembered all those who died previously, but today I was having special thoughts for those who have been my immediate friends, who had given their lives and those who have since died afterwards."

Captain Tom continued: "To all those people who gave their lives I must say thank you very much, you are very great people."

"Never ever had I any anti-feeling against my country. I was fighting for not only my country but everyone that I knew who were very great people.

"All my family and all my best friends, I was fighting for them. Never ever was there any ill feeling or hatred towards anyone.

The World War Two veteran added: "To say was I scared? No. I was never scared. At 22 you are not the sort of people that get scared. What I was fighting for I felt was a good cause and it was for so many other people who were not in a position to fight."

George Bradford, 90, a former Royal Marine stands behind a window at the RBLI home in Aylesford, Kent, during the two minutes silence to pay his respects on Remembrance Sunday.
George Bradford, 90, a former Royal Marine stands behind a window at the RBLI home in Aylesford, Kent, during the two minutes silence to pay his respects on Remembrance Sunday. Picture: PA

The first stroke of eleven by Big Ben signalled the start of a two-minute silence today.

A military gun was fired to mark the end of the silent tribute, which was observed at war memorials across the country and the Last Post was sounded by the Buglers of the Royal Marines.

About 150 personnel from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force took part in a parade at the Cenotaph, with musicians from all three services playing traditional music for the service.

The first wreath was laid at the Cenotaph by the Prince of Wales on behalf of the Queen, followed by Captain James Boughey, who laid a wreath on behalf of the Duke of Edinburgh, who has retired from public royal duties.

Charles then left his own floral tribute and was followed by the Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Wessex and Princess Royal.

Prince of Wales lay a wreath at the Cenotaph on behalf of the Queen.
The first wreath was laid at the Cenotaph by the Prince of Wales on behalf of the Queen. Picture: PA
The public were unable to attend the Cenotaph service due to coronavirus restrictions.
The public were unable to attend the Cenotaph service due to coronavirus restrictions. Picture: PA

Although the public were unable to attend, the event was broadcast live on multiple channels, with people encouraged to take part in the two-minute silence at home.

People were encouraged to share family histories, personal stories and messages of remembrance online using the hashtag #WeWillRememberThem.

A small number of serving and former Royal Marine Commandos at the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge, near Fort William, for the annual Remembrance Sunday ceremony.
A small number of serving and former Royal Marine Commandos at the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge, near Fort William, for the annual Remembrance Sunday ceremony. Picture: PA

Ahead of Remembrance Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid his respects to the war dead at Uxbridge War Memorial in west London at a low-key event on Saturday.

He said: "We come together every November to commemorate the servicemen and women from Britain and the Commonwealth who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

"In this time of adversity, no virus can stop us from honouring their memory, particularly when we have just celebrated the 75th anniversary of victory in the Second World War.

"And in times of trial, our tributes matter even more. So let's come together once again and remember those to whom we owe so much."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid a poppy wreath at the Cenotaph in Westminster.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid a poppy wreath at the Cenotaph in Westminster. Picture: Getty

In a video message ahead of his attendance at the Cenotaph service, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: "2020 has been a year of struggle and sacrifice, and we know many challenges lie ahead.

"But in these difficult times whenever we are in need of inspiration we can always look with pride, not only to our wartime generations or those who are currently serving our nation at home and abroad, but to all our servicemen and women who throughout this pandemic have stood side by side with our key workers in the battle against this virus.

"So on this special Remembrance Sunday where we mark 80 years since the Battle of Britain and 75 years since the end of the Second World War, let us say thanks to all those who have served and all those who continue to serve this great country."

Meanwhile, 200 life-size silhouettes of soldiers have been set up at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.

The instillation has been made from recycled materials by local artist Dan Barton, in memory of those who gave their lives in the two world wars.

Aerial shot of silhouetted soliders at Blenheim Palace's Column of Victory as part of Remembrance celebrations
Aerial shot of silhouetted soliders at Blenheim Palace's Column of Victory as part of Remembrance celebrations. Picture: Pete Seaward
200 life-size Armistice Day soldier silhouette figures and 75 poppy wreaths are on display in memory of The Unknown Soldier for The Royal British Legion.
200 life-size Armistice Day soldier silhouette figures and 75 poppy wreaths are on display in memory of The Unknown Soldier for The Royal British Legion. Picture: Pete Seaward
Silhouetted soliders at sunrise with Blenheim Palace's Column of Victory in the background
Silhouetted soliders at sunrise with Blenheim Palace's Column of Victory in the background. Picture: Pete Seaward