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Unknown warrior

Person  Male  Born 1920 

Categories: Armed Forces, Religion

The idea of a ceremonial burial for an unknown soldier came from a WW1 Army padre, Rev. David Railton. The French and the British acted on the idea in 1920 and over the years many other countries have followed suit.  The British monument is in Westminster Abbey and the first, annual, service took place there on 11 November 1920. To encompass all three armed services the body is known as the unknown warrior.

There is an interesting follow-up to the burial of the unknown warrior. By 2005 the number of surviving British veterans of WW1 had reduced to nine and the government decided that the last one should be offered a state funeral. In 2008 only three remained, by chance, representing the three services. In July 2009 only Harry Patch remained. Harry was never a man to allow his life or death to be used for empty nationalism; he repeatedly condemned war as 'a calculated and condoned slaughter’ and thus he refused a state funeral. But he did allow a large public one at Wells Cathedral near where he had lived all his life.

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Unknown warrior

Information Commemorated at

Unknown warrior arrival

The vehicle used for the delivery was the Cavell Van, the railway wagon which...

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