Home > General, Remembrance Day, World War I > Centenary of the end of World War I, Remembrance Day, Kolkata

Centenary of the end of World War I, Remembrance Day, Kolkata

Centenary of the end of World War I

Remembrance Day, Kolkata

I’m privileged to be here in Kolkata and had the opportunity to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in war. We recognise India’s remarkable contribution to the war efforts….

Bruce Bucknell. British Deputy High Commissioner, Kolkata

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100th Remembrance Sunday at Kolkata. L: Bhowanipore Cemetery, C: Glorious Dead Cenotaph, Maidan and R: St. John’s Church

It was the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year 2018 the buglers sounded the Last Post followed by a two minutes silence, which was broken by the sounding of The Rouse.

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Buglers and the army band at the Glorious Dead Cenotaph, Maidan, Kolkata, 100th Remembrance Sunday

Exactly 100 years ago on this day and on this very hour the guns felt silent marking the end of  The Great War of 1914 – 18, popularly known as the First World War (WWI).

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Bruce Bucknell, Glorious Dead Cenotaph, 100th Remembrance Sunday

A year later in 1919 King George V inaugurated the first commemoration of the end of the Great War of 1914 – 18, which was subsequently observed by all Commonwealth Nations and came to be known as Armistice Day.

Post Second World War (WWII), most of the commonwealth nations, including Great Britain, moved the Armistice Day events nearest Sunday of 11th November or the second Sunday of November.

It adopted the name of Remembrance Day or Remembrance Sunday and was observed to honour the fallen soldiers of World War I and World War II. Today Remembrance Sunday is observed throughout the commonwealth nations to remember the fallen soldiers of the two world wars and subsequent conflicts.

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Bruce Bucknell, lays the wreath at Glorious Dead Cenotaph

Kolkata, formerly Calcutta, once the second city of the mighty British Empire is no exception. In Kolkata the Remembrance Sunday is observed at the Glorious Dead Cenotaph in the Maidan, followed by a service at the St. John’s Church in the evening.

2018 marked the centenary and 11th November was a Sunday. Apart from the two regular events there was another memorial service at the Commonwealth War Graves at the Bhowanipore Cemetery.

The event at the Glorious Dead Cenotaph is organised by the British Deputy High Commission, Kolkata and  was presided over by Bruce Bucknell, British Deputy High Commissioner, Kolkata. Also present were council generals and diplomats from several countries. The representatives of Army, Navy & Air Force and Kolkata Police were also present at the cenotaph.

It was a short ceremony in spite of the centenary year I found the same event in 2016 mere elaborate. (Also see: Remembrance Sunday 2016 at Glorious Dead Cenotaph, Kolkata)

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100th Remembrance Sunday at Commonwealth War Graves, Bhowanipore Cemetery, Kolkata

The second phase of the centenary of the end of First World War was kicked off at the Commonwealth War Graves at the Bhowanipore Cemetery and was centred around the Cross of Sacrifice.

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Wreath laying ceremony, Commonwealth War Graves, Bhowanipore Cemetery

Bhowanipore Cemetery is an active Christian Cemetery, which includes an area reserved for Commonwealth War Graves.

The place is enclosed and very well maintained. The graves are mainly from Second World War but there are quiet a few First World War graves also.

Again this was a simple ceremony with couple of brief speeches followed by the wreath laying ceremony.  But the centre of attraction were the two sisters, Ann Stringer and Patricia Campbell.

Their grandfather G A Campbell of Gurkha Riffles dead in the Second World War and was buried in the Bhowanipore Cemetery. The sisters have come all the way from England to pay tribute to their grandfather on the 100th Remembrance Day.

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100th Remembrance Sunday at Commonwealth War Graves, Bhowanipore Cemetery, Kolkata. L: Bruce Bucknell lays the wreath at Cross of Sacrifice, C: Bruce Bucknell delivers his speech and R: the sisters in fromt of their grandfather’s grave

The Remembrance Day ended with a special mass at the St. John’s Church, Kolkata. The Remembrance Day service started with the the procession along the aisle of the church, led by the Crucifer carrying the Crucifix. (Also see: Remembrance Sunday 2015 at St. John’s Churhc, Kolkata)

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Buglers at St. John’s Church, Remembrance Day

The service was attended by the Bishop of Kolkata (CNI), representative from the Governor of West Bengal. Representatives of the Army, Navy, Air force and Police, British High Deputy Commission.

The service started with hymns and call of worship. Soon the several choirs of different schools and associations started to sing, with the church pipe organ playing in the background.

The second part of the service was held at the Memorial Corner. The Memorial Corner located at the North – Western corner of the St. John’s Church consists of several brass plaques dedicated to the fallen British Soldiers of World war I (WWI), which were removed from the Glorious Dead Cenotaph at the Maidan.

After the wreath laying session the two buglers, who came from Fort William, sounded their bugles. First they sounded the Last Post followed by a brief period of silence and followed by the The Rouse.

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100th Remembrance Sunday at Memorial Corner, St. John’s Church, Kolkata

A few speeches and songs followed and the services ended with the procession carrying the crucifix back from the altar of the St. John’s Church. Finally the Remembrance Sunday Services came to an end with the singing of the Indian National Anthem.

On 11 Nov 2018 there was another memorial service at the Bengali War Memorial in College Square. It was probably the first service, at least in recent years, to remember the 52 fallen soldiers of  the 49th Bengali Regiment during the First World War.


  1. November 14, 2018 at 10:46 PM

    Well reported about the Remembrance Day or Remembrance Sunday ofWorld War I and II events celebrated at Kolkatta.

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