SWINDON fell silent as the clock struck 11am across the town yesterday to mark Armistice Day.

A two-minute silence was observed across workplaces, schools, homes and at cenotaphs across the district.

The centrepiece for the town centre commemoration was the cenotaph outside the Town Hall and central library, where Mayor Andrew Bennett and South Swindon MP Robert Buckland were present.

The Last Post was played out by a bugler at the cenotaph with standards from the Royal British Legion proudly standing to remember the war dead.

Hundreds gathered in the town centre to hear passages from veterans and ministers before bowing their heads in prayer.

Mr Buckland said: “The veterans get older, but the memories must never fade because the lessons we think have been learned sometimes get forgotten.

“Armistice Day is all about remembering those lessons, all of us, and not just honouring those who made that sacrifice, but looking to the future to make sure we’re not in this position again.

“It was great to see so many people here today.

“There were well over 100 here and the silence was observed in an excellent way as I know it would be across Swindon in workplaces and people’s daily lives.”

Over at Wootton Bassett crowds also turned out to mark the armistice that was signed between the Allies of World War 1 and Germany at Compiegne, France for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front.

While this official date to mark the end of the war reflects the ceasefire on the Western Front, hostilities continued in other regions in the world, especially across the former Russian Empire and in parts of the old Ottoman Empire.

The first Armistice Day ceremony was held at Buckingham Palace in 1919.

College wall is a space to share

STUDENTS and staff at Swindon College marked Armistice Day with comments and reflections written on a giant wall of remembrance.

The wall, covered in white paper and a red border with wartime cuttings and pictures, has been set up in the college common room all week.

Hundreds of students have stopped by to cast an eye over the commemorative wall, with many writing messages and thoughts on the canvas.

The wall was designed by Jason Mariner, a youth worker at the college. It is the first of its kind in the college’s Armistice Day history.

David Francis, the director of student services, said: “The college is proud of the fact that our students have played an active and positive part in today’s remembrance activities.

“They have contributed such meaningful and heartfelt messages on our remembrance wall.”

The wall carries the message ‘they gave their today for our tomorrow’ and has a giant poppy at its centre.

A spokeswoman for the college said the wall had been such a talking point across the North Star site, it had drawn attention from many students.

“It’s been a big talking point around the college,” she said. 

“Students who wouldn’t normally have been coming to the chill zone, have been coming down to see it and sign it.”

Part of Jason’s remit within the youth work role is to get the students engaged with current affairs and those matters dominating the news, such as Armistice Day.

It is believed about 200 students showed up to pay their respects yesterday alone.