ANZAC Day — 25th April — is always a big day for Aussies and Kiwis in London.
For many of us in London, ANZAC Day is a nice reminder of home and what it really means to be an Aussie or a Kiwi, whilst the rest of the city goes about another busy day.
In the grey light of dawn at Hyde Park Corner thousands of us will stand near the New Zealand Memorial (it’s our turn this year – the main London ANZAC Day ceremony alternates each year between the Australian and NZ memorial sites) at 5am for a few quiet moments of reflection and contemplation. We’ll be thinking of those sacrifices made by earlier generations so that we can enjoy the many freedoms we do today. You can play your part by making a small donation towards a Legacy pin to help support Aussie war widows in the UK. And don’t forget to wear your sprig of rosemary as a mark of respect and remembrance on ANZAC Day.
After the Dawn Service many people grab a coffee or tuck into a good breakfast. The Intercontinental Hotel on Piccadilly (adjacent to the NZ Memorial) puts on a full ANZAC breakfast at half price for all those attending the Dawn Service. Later in the morning many expats also move on to the wreath-laying service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall at 11am.
This is a big event and a good crowd always turns out. It always feels like a breeze of home to see Aussie slouch hats on parade. Finally, a special ANZAC Day service is held each year in Westminster Abbey at mid-day. You’ll need to hold reserve tickets for the Westminster Abbey service (applications are now closed but some may be available on the day at the Abbey – see information, below).
If you have time on your hands and understand the aims of Legacy why not volunteer to help staff our office for a few hours each month and assist generally? You’ll be working with other Aussies and really helping a good cause. If you can help, pIease contact President Lindsay Birrell: firstname.lastname@example.org
2014 is special because it marks the centenary of the outbreak of World War One in 1914. The BBC is screening a seemingly endless number of documentaries, bookshops are stocking titles commemorating the event and special services are being held all over Britain all year. Next year will be even bigger for Aussies and Kiwis as it marks the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign of 1915.
ANZAC Day Services in London 2014
05:00: ANZAC Day Dawn Service – Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner, London
Location: Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner
The main service will take place in front of Wellington Arch in Hyde Park Corner. During the service, wreaths will be laid at both the Australian War Memorial and New Zealand Memorial. The service lasts approximately 45 minutes and arrival from 04.40am is suggested.
Tickets are not required for the Dawn Service
11:00: ANZAC Day Wreath Laying Service, London
Location: The Cenotaph, Whitehall
Following a march onto Whitehall a requiem is read and at 11.00am the High Commissioners for Australia and New Zealand lay the first wreaths. Arrival by 10.30am is recommended. The service will conclude at approximately 11:15am allowing time for the short walk to Westminster Abbey.
If you wish to view the Wreath Laying, make your way to the Houses of Parliament end of Whitehall where a public area is available.
12:00: ANZAC Day Commemorative Service, London
Location: Westminster Abbey
The Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving to mark ANZAC Day commences at 12:00 noon. Guests need to be seated by 11:45am and the Service will last approximately one hour.
This is strictly a ticketed event. If you do not hold a ticket but wish to attend the Westminster Abbey service, make your way to the Abbey where stewards will hold any surplus or returned tickets. The doors of Westminster Abbey are scheduled to open at 11.00. Take your passport with you for identification purposes.
Article by Simon Kleinig