The story of the Unknown Warrior

The Reverend David Railton, a chaplain at the front is believed to have had the idea of honouring the unidentified dead of the Great War of which there were many tens of thousands. In 1916 he noticed a grave in a garden In Armentieres which had a rough cross bearing the words ” An unknown British soldier”. After the war in 1920 he suggested that Britain honour its unknown war dead officially.
Between four and six bodies were exhumed from four battles areas The Aisne, the Somme, Arras and Ypres. The remains were covered with a Union Jack flags and brought to the chapel at St Pol Brigadier Genenral L J Wyatt who was the Commander of British troops in France and Flanders the selected one of the soldiers. The officers placed the body in a plain coffin and sealed. The other bodies were then taken away for reburiel. Placed in a coffin made of oak from Hampton Court the body was transported to Dover on the destroyer HMS Verdun.
On the morning of 11th November 1920 the second anniversary of armistace day the Unknown Warrior was drawn through crowdlined streets on a gun carriage in a procession to the Cenptaph where King George V placed a wreath on the coffin. At 11am the nation observed the 2 minute silence and then the body was taken to Westminster Abbey and buried at the West end of the nave.
The grave contains soil from France and is covered by a slab of black Belgian marble. Inscribed on the marble are these words from the Bible
“They buried him among the Kings because he had done good toward God and toward his house”
Within the first week as estimated 1,250,000 people filed past the Unknown Warrior to pay their respects to all the unidentified dead. It is now one of the most visited war graves in the world and is the only part of the Abbey floor that is never walked on.

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