The Veterans Charity launches Routes of Remembrance for 2022
A North Devon charity has launched its iconic Routes of Remembrance campaign which will again see hundreds of poppy wreaths travel across the UK and beyond to honor the dead in November.
The poignant operation by The Veterans Charity will see wreaths placed on trains early in the morning on November 11 at South West stations, including Barnstaple, before being transported to London for an Armistice Day service at Paddington War Memorial.
This is the third year for the poignant Poppies to Paddington event, created in conjunction with Great Western Railway at the height of lockdown in 2020 as local veterans were unable to attend commemorative events due to Covid restrictions.
It proved so successful, with 250 crowns carried, that the wider Routes of Remembrance campaign was set up by the charity in 2021 to include other rail and transport operators across the UK.
In the first year last year, wreaths crossed and re-crossed the UK by sea, air and land to converge on London and other war memorials, as well as on to Northern Ireland and the islands Falklands.
GWR trains carried 350 wreaths to Paddington on Armistice Day last year, with ceremonies at stations along the route as veterans paid their respects to the trains or accompanied them to London, often with dignitaries locals and representatives of the local armed forces.
This year, GWR is particularly keen to involve veterans of the Falklands War, as 2022 marks the 40th anniversary of the end of that conflict.
Danny Greeno, CEO of The Veterans Charity, said: “We are thrilled to have train operators and so many enthusiastic supporters join us on this journey once again.
“There have been some challenges this year, but we also have some exciting new additions and what we hope will be some truly iconic moments as we continue to ‘keep the memory moving’.
“As many know we are based in Barnstaple and this campaign has always had such fantastic support from the South West
“We would love to hear from any veterans who want to participate this year, as well as anyone else who wants to get involved, whether transport operators or local organizations, please get in touch.”
The Routes of Remembrance campaign has even gone transatlantic this year, with a shipment of wreaths carried across the ocean by the Queen Mary 2 liner to circumnavigate the United States and Canada.
A veterans’ honor guard and flypast from a Battle of Britain hurricane memorial flight watched the wreaths fall on the first leg of their journey from Southampton in June.
Closer to home, UK rail operators will carry wreaths and veterans with a full ceremony at stations across the rail network on 11/11, with many heading to the capital.
In 2023, the campaign hopes to go even further, with Wreaths Across the Pacific, with an even bigger wave of wreaths traveling to Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Commonwealth’s Pacific Islands.
To find out how you can get involved in the Routes of Remembrance, visit https://www.veteranscharity.org.uk/