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Remembrance Day 2015 at Commonwealth War Graves

Nov 11, 2015, 10:37 AM

The British Embassy and local dignitaries on Sunday 8 November marked Remembrance Sunday in The Gambia with a ceremony held at the Commonwealth War Graves in Fajara. A two minute silence was observed to honor and remember fallen heroes. Today marks Armistice Day in recognition of the end of World War 1 with a two minute silence to be observed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

The British Ambassador, Colin Crorkin MBE, led the ceremony and also laid a ceremonial wreath of poppies on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Wreaths were also laid by the Gambian Chief of Defence Staff Lt Gen. Ousman Bargie, the Inspector General of Police Yankuba Sonko and many other dignitaries including members of the public.

Over 200 people attended the ceremony including Gambian veterans who fought in World War II as well as senior members of the diplomatic corps.Prayers were offered for those who had lost their lives fighting in conflicts from The Methodist Bishop, The Most Reverend Hannah Caroline Faal-Heim, as well as a representative of the Imam Ratib of Banjul.

Speaking on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, British Ambassador Colin Crorkin MBE said at the ceremony: “At 11 am on the 11th of November 1918 the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years continuous warfare. The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the moment when hostilities ceased on the Western Front became universally associated with the remembrance of those who had died in the war. After the Second World War this day was adopted as Remembrance Day. A day that forever more would be marked as the day to remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice.

Before the First World War the Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone created local infantry units. Together they formed the Royal West African Frontier Force. A title made famous in the two World Wars as they took part in successful operations across Africa. The bravery of this force is remembered with pride.

Of particular note is the battle of Mowdok where the 1st Battalion The Gambian Regiment was honoured.As part of the 81st West African Division they did a great deal to turn the tide of war in Burma.Their natural ability as jungle fighters and their unique ability to carry their own supplies allowed them to repeatedly outflank their enemies.Earl Mountbatten of Burma, the Supreme Allied Commander in South East Asia paid specific tribute to men of the 81st referring to their magnificent fighting qualities and a reputation for their Division which will always be remembered in the annals of the Burma campaign.

Today we not only commemorate those buried here or those who died in past conflicts, but we also think of the members of our armed forces presently serving on active operations in various parts of the world.

I want to thank you all for coming here today. I also want to give special thanks to staff members of the British Embassy who put a tremendous amount of effort into organising today’s service and also to the team of gardeners who maintain this cemetery to the highest standards deserving of those who are commemorated here.”