Lochnagar Crater Ceremony


The Ceremony starts with the firing of a maroon, and immediately afterwards a Lone Piper walks from the far side of the Crater towards the Cross playing 'The Battle of the Somme'.

Lone Piper Ian Alexander walks part way round the Crater towards the Cross 2001
Lone Piper Ian Alexander walks part way round the Crater towards the Cross 2001
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

The congregation is welcomed to the Ceremony by Richard, with a translation into French by John Checketts. Click the link for a full transcript of Richard's 2011 speech.

Richard Dunning welcomes everyone to the Ceremony with a translation into French by John Checketts 2011
Richard Dunning welcomes everyone to the Ceremony with a translation into French by John Checketts 2011
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

After the welcome from Richard the Chaplain gives an opening prayer and address.

Former Chaplain Canon Tim Watson gives the opening prayer and address 2001Current Chaplain Pastor John Pressdee makes his way to give the opening prayer and address 2011.
Former Chaplain Canon Tim Watson gives the opening prayer and address 2001 and in 2011,
current Chaplain Pastor John Pressdee makes his way to give the opening prayer and address.
Images courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

Up to 70 wreaths are laid, plus floral tributes from our French friends.

M. Le Marquis de Thézy lays a wreath 2001Souvenir Français place a floral tribute 2001
M. Le Marquis de Thézy lays a wreath 2001 and
Souvenir Français place a floral tribute 2001
The youngest wreath layer Olivia with parents Warren and Pamela Osborne 2007Pupils of South Wolds school lay a wreath
The youngest wreath layer Olivia with parents Warren and Pamela Osborne 2007 and
Pupils of South Wolds school lay a wreath
Images courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

In addition to the laying of wreaths one or two small speeches will be made or poems read. Often a poem written by veteran Harry Fellows will be read by his son Mick. At the 2011 Ceremony Mick read They Grow Not Old.

Mick Fellows reading one of his father's poems 2001
Mick Fellows reading one of his father's poems 2001
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

Over the last few years a song from the Great War era has been sung by sisters Rachel and Jennifer Wilbur. In 2011 the song was the well known 'Hanging on the Old Barbed Wire'.


Rachel and Jennifer Wilbur singing 'Hanging on the Old Barbed Wire'.

After all the wreaths have been laid the congregation accompanied by the Somme Pipe Band sing the hymn 'Abide With Me'. Since 2006 the first verse has been sung solo by Rachel Wilbur, with everyone joining in with the other verses. This format has been repeated every year since then.

Rachel, aged 10, singing Abide with Me in 2006
Rachel, aged 10, singing Abide with Me in 2006
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2006


Rachel singing 'Abide with Me'


Rachel singing 'The Green Fields of France' at the 2013 July 1st ceremony.

As an act of reconciliation, the Lord's Prayer is spoken in English, French and German.

In 2011 the new Cross was dedicated with a British, a French and a German hand touch a carving of three hands whilst the Lord's Prayer is spoken in the three languages
In 2011 the new Cross was dedicated with a British, a French and a German hand touch a carving of three hands whilst the
Lord's Prayer is spoken in the three languages
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

A verse from the poem 'For the Fallen' by Laurence Binyon is read, known as The Exhortation:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

David Disbrey reads the exhortation 2011
David Disbrey reads the exhortation 2011
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

The 'Last Post' is sounded and standards are lowered. A two minute silence follows, after which 'Reveille' is sounded and standards are raised.

Standard bearers 2001
Standard bearers 2001
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

Some of the many hundreds who attended the 2011 Ceremony
Some of the many hundreds who attended the 2011 Ceremony
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

Petal Scattering and Hand Linking


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