We are pleased to announce that we will be re-opening our sites in Portsmouth, Gosport and Yeovilton on Wednesday 2 December 2020. 
Unfortunately, due to government guidelines, Hartlepool will remain closed.
 HMS Caroline remains closed to the public.

Find The Latest COVID-19 Updates Here.
 

 

The History of Remembrance Culture

Remembrance as we understand it today is a comparatively recent phenomenon. Historically, commemoration of sacrifice was often confined to remembering the deeds of ‘Great Men’; the Royal Navy’s annual reflection on the death of Admiral Nelson is a good example of this.

War Memorials listing the fallen began to appear across the country after the Boer War of 1899-1902, but it was the end of the First World War which really cemented modern Remembrance culture into the British national psyche.

Many of the men and women who died between 1914-1918 were not professional sailors, soldiers or airmen, they were civilians who had put on a uniform to help deal with an unparalleled national emergency, and society perhaps felt connected to them in way it had not to previous generations of service people.

Most of the rituals of Remembrance date to this period, from the construction of the Cenotaph and the annual Remembrance Day parade, to the two minutes silence and the wearing of the poppy, the construction of local war memorials, and the creation of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and its extraordinary worldwide network of cemeteries and monuments.

These rituals grew and thrived over the following decades, as the country passed through another shared national trial, the Second World War, ensuring Remembrance culture remained relevant for subsequent generations.

The common peril of the Cold War, the very visible sacrifices of servicemen and women engaged in a brutal war in Northern Ireland, and the endless pain of the ‘forever wars’ in Iraq and Afghanistan, have arguably kept it so up to the present day.

It is, perhaps, interesting to reflect on whether Remembrance culture will persist in its present form as the last of the ‘citizen soldiers’ pass away. Or will it evolve again, becoming something more private and less of a shared experience, if the British armed forces revert to their natural pre-1914 state; small, intensely professional, and largely committed to smaller scale operations a long, long way from home?

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