Next to Platform 8, in Victoria Train Station, there is a small plaque to the Unknown Warrior. His final resting place is in the nave of Westminster Abbey. Although we do not know his name or his rank in the army, his tomb is a very poignant remember of all those who died during World War One but whose bodies have never been identified.
Each year on 10th November the London branch of The Western Front Association holds a ceremony to remember the arrival of the body of the Unknown Warrior at Victoria Station.
This year Julie Chandler, friend and fellow guide, and I attended the ceremony. For me it has an extra special meaning as the carriage which transported the body of the Unknown Warrior had previously carried the body of Edith Cavell, the British nurse who was killed for helping allied soldiers escape from occupied Belgium during World War One.
The unknown British soldier was chosen at random from one of the four bodies exhumed from the main World War One battlefields. His body was then transported by boat to Dover and then the onward journey was made by train. The Unknown Warrior arrived at Platform 8 at Victoria Station on 10th November 1920 at 8.32pm. An overnight vigil was maintained by servicemen.
On 11th November 1920 the coffin was placed on a gun carriage of the Royal Horse Artillery and taken first to Whitehall for the unveilling of the Cenotaph before continuing to Westminster Abbey.
The short, moving ceremony starts at 8pm when the public start to assemble by Platform 8.
The Last Post is played followed by one minutes silence.
The ceremony ends with the presentation of wreaths.
For more information please see:
The Western Front Association (who organise the annual ceremony)
Kent and East Sussex Railway (where the carriage that transported both the Unknown Warrior and Edith Cavell is on view)
Cavell Nurses' Trust (a charity founded in honour of Nurse Edith Cavell)
The author of this blog is a qualified City of London and City of Westminster Tour Guide who leads guided walks combining world famous landmarks with hidden treasures often missed by the crowds.