The Flag

The most powerful symbol representing Britain’s casualties during time of war is the Tomb of The Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey. Andy Richards tells the poignant story.


His Majesty King George V pays his respects at the burial of the Unknown Warrior on Armistice Day, 1920.

Throughout the long history of Westminster Abbey, over 3,300 graves, tombs and memorials have been placed there – from Kings and Queens, including Edward the Confessor and Elizabeth I, to scientists such as Newton and Darwin, to politicians such as Gladstone and Wilberforce, as well as writers and musicians, including Handel, Kipling, Dickens, Purcell and Tennyson. But the most famous grave, and one that has touched the lives of the many millions who have stood beside it since Armistice Day, 1920, is the grave of the Unknown Warrior. Set into the Abbey’s stone floor just inside the Great West door, the plain and simple, poppy-edged, gold-engraved, black marble slab from Namur, Belgium, is undoubtedly the most moving and enduring symbol of the Nation’s service and sacrifice.

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