Opening of the Annual Garden of Remembrance
Monday 6th November 2017
St Paul's Cathedral
The opening of the Annual Garden of Remembrance at St Paul's is traditionally the launch of the City's Poppy Appeal. This year's opening fell on the 100th anniversary of the day when British and Canadian troops were finally able to capture Passchendaele, marking the end of the Third Battle of Ypres which had started in July of that year. British forces were exhausted, after the long, grinding offensive, with some 275,000 casualties, including 70,000 dead—as opposed to 260,000 on the German side. The Third Battle of Ypres proved to be one of the most costly Allied offensives of World War I.
As we gathered on a cold and sunny November morning, the Band of the Scots Guards played while dignitaries took their positions and the Masters of the several livery companies of the City of London were ordered into precedence. The ceremony of planting crosses and poppies on the lawn was completed without any mistakes, "Abide with me" was sung and, after the National Anthem, many of the masters set off to a warming lunch at the Watermen's Hall on the eastern side of the City.