Harald Joergens Photography

Remembrance Sunday 2012 at the London Cenotaph Image Library

You may also be interested in the March Past, and the Cenotaph Ceremony 2015, 2014, and 2013.

Only a fraction of the photos taken is online. If you can't find what you are looking for, please email cenotaph@haraldjoergens.com

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Whitehall, London,


All the photos are available for licensing, as digital copies, and as fine art prints.
Only a fraction of the photos is shown on the website. Please ask for more.
  • On 28th July 1914 the nations of Europe went to war. By the time Armistice was signed on 11th November 1918 Britain and her Empire has sustained 1,104,890 fallen and the magnitude of these losses was immensely shocking and inconceivable to the British People. The British War Cabinet declared that, to mark the signing of the peace treaty on 28th June 1919, a Peace Day Celebration and a victory parade will be held on 19th July 1919.

    Lloyd George became convinced that the parade needed a point of homage be a symbol of remembrance for the nation in mourning to which the parading troops could give their reverent salute. In the beginning of July Sir Edwin Lutyens was invited to design a non-denominational structure for the parade, which could be built in two weeks. He designed a stark and solemn memorial, the Cenotaph, consisting of a tomb chest set on top of a tall stepped pylon with almost no decoration to distract attention from the overall form. Originally the only inscriptions were "THE GLORIOUS DEAD " on the western face and the dates MCMXIV (1914) and MCMXIX (1919) above the wreaths on the north and south faces. In 1946 the dates MCMXXXIX (1939) and MCMXLV (1945) had been added on the upper portions of the east and west faces.

    The word "cenotaph" derives from the Greek words kenos meaning empty, and taphos meaning tomb. The ancient Greeks attached great importance to the proper burial of their dead, even if no corpse were available. If it was not possible to bury the actual body, the Greeks used to build a cenotaph to substitute for the body. Lutyens' design draws inspiration from many classical prototypes as well as Renaissance tombs and mausolea which revived the classical ideas.

    Because of the shortage of time the original Cenotaph was erected in Whitehall from wood and plaster and on 19th July 1919 was saluted by the troops of the victorious nations marching past in solemn silence. The King reviewed the parade from a temporary pavilion at Buckingham Palace and an elaborate program of festivities and entertainments followed. The Cenotaph was intended to be a minor part of the Peace Day Celebrations and no one in the government envisaged it to become a permanent and official memorial. But to the public it was the salute at the Cenotaph that was perhaps the most moving part of the triumphal ceremony and the understated monument became the symbol of England's grief. Therefore a decision has been made to replace the wood and plaster original an identical memorial in lasting stone.

    The stone cenotaph is almost identical to the original temporary structure except for slight alterations to its lines which are set on subtle curvatures. Lutyens followed an ancient Greek technique of entasis and as a result there is not a single vertical or horizontal line and all of the horizontal surfaces and planes are spherical.

    The unveiling of the permanent structure by King George V on 11th November 1920 was combined with a ceremony to mark the passing of the body of the Unknown Warrior for re-burial at Westminster Abbey. Since then the annual ceremony took place at the Cenotaph on the same date until 1945 when it was moved to the second Sunday in November - the Remembrance Sunday. The Cenotaph ceremony has become the national focus for commemorating the British People's war dead, not just the WWI dead. . The decision on the two minutes silence to commemorate the first anniversary of the ceasefire of the 11 o'clock on 11th November 1918 was made in 1919 and an announcement was carried in all national newspapers on 7 November 1919.

    Apart from the national ceremony held at the Cenotaph each November, there are other ceremonies taking place almost every weekend and the monument is bedecked with wreaths all year round.

    About this image library

    This image library covers Remebrance Sunday 2012 at the Cenotaph, seen from a press stand opposite the Foreign- and Commonwealth Office Building, up to the march past, which is covered in a separate library.
    There are many more images - if you are looking for anything specific you can't find here, please contact us directly.