Image: Mother and son
David Moir  /  Reuters
A mother and her son observe Armistice Day in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Saturday. Millions across Britain observed a two-minute silence to remember the nation's war dead.
updated 11/13/2006 3:51:13 AM ET 2006-11-13T08:51:13

Millions of people across Britain observed a two-minute silence to remember the nation’s war dead on Saturday.

At 11 a.m., a lone bugler heralded the start of the silence at a London service on Armistice Day, the anniversary of the official end of World War One.

People at a service in the capital’s Trafalgar Square were invited to place red poppies in the square’s famous fountains.

The red floral symbol has been worn on lapels since just after the end of World War One to honor those who die in battle because the poppy grew on the battlefields of northern Europe.

Schoolgirl Rebecca Sullivan, 13, was due to recite a poem she wrote about World War One called “There Lie Forgotten Men” at the London service.

British forces in Iraq and Afghanistan observed the silence.

The two-minute silence ended in London when four Royal Air Force fighter jets flew low over the capital.

Queen Elizabeth and New Zealand’s Prime Minister Helen Clark were to attend a service to dedicate 16 bronze memorial sculptures in London’s Hyde Park that honor New Zealand’s war dead and commemorate the links between the two countries.

The Royal British Legion charity, which runs the Poppy Appeal to raise money for serving and ex-Service personnel and their families, estimated that 80 percent of Britons would observe the silence.

Families of servicemen killed in Iraq were later due to lay wreaths at Britain’s main war memorial, the Cenotaph, in central London, as a lone piper plays.

They will read out the names of more than 100 British servicemen who have died in Iraq before delivering a letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office calling for the return of British troops.

The service is being organized by the campaign group Military Families Against the War, which opposes Britain’s involvement in Iraq.

On Remembrance Sunday, more services are held across the country and the Queen lays a wreath at the Cenotaph.

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

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