UPDATED: Queen leads the nation in silent tribute at the Cenotaph

Queen Elizabeth II lays a wreath during the annual Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall, central London, held in tribute for members of the armed forces who have died in major conflicts. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 8, 2015. See PA story MEMORIAL Remembrance. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II lays a wreath during the annual Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall, central London, held in tribute for members of the armed forces who have died in major conflicts. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 8, 2015. See PA story MEMORIAL Remembrance. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
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THE NATION paid silent respect to the country’s war dead today in a Remembrance Sunday service led by the Queen.

The monarch was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh and members of the leading political parties at the Cenotaph in central London.

Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha walk through Downing Street on their way to the annual Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall, central London, held in tribute for members of the armed forces who have died in major conflicts. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 8, 2015. See PA story MEMORIAL Remembrance. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha walk through Downing Street on their way to the annual Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall, central London, held in tribute for members of the armed forces who have died in major conflicts. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 8, 2015. See PA story MEMORIAL Remembrance. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

The two-minute silence took place at 11am and wreaths were laid at the foot of the Whitehall memorial, followed by a veterans’ march.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn - whose anti-war stance is well known - answered speculation on whether he would wear a red poppy by sporting one at the Festival of Remembrance last night.

The ceremony was slightly shorter this year, with arrangements made to reduce the time war veterans are made to stand before the parade moves off.

But politicians will continue to lay wreaths individually after a Westminster backlash forced a rethink by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which oversees ceremonial arrangements.

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn (centre) alongside Prime Minister David Cameron (right) with former Prime Minister's Gordon Brown (back left) and Tony Blair (back right) during the annual Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall, central London, held in tribute for members of the armed forces who have died in major conflicts. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 8, 2015. See PA story MEMORIAL Remembrance. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn (centre) alongside Prime Minister David Cameron (right) with former Prime Minister's Gordon Brown (back left) and Tony Blair (back right) during the annual Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall, central London, held in tribute for members of the armed forces who have died in major conflicts. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 8, 2015. See PA story MEMORIAL Remembrance. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands also laid a wreath this year, following an invitation from the Queen to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands after the end of the Second World War.

This year marks a number of other significant anniversaries in the UK’s military history, including the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

The weather in the capital is expected to be dry, according to MeteoGroup, which said the sun could break through in places.

But other Remembrance Sunday events across the country, particularly in northern England and Scotland could be hit by a band of rain moving south, forecaster John Griffiths added.

A band marches before the annual Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall, central London, held in tribute for members of the armed forces who have died in major conflicts. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 8, 2015. See PA story MEMORIAL Remembrance. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

A band marches before the annual Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall, central London, held in tribute for members of the armed forces who have died in major conflicts. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 8, 2015. See PA story MEMORIAL Remembrance. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Thousands joined the Queen, a host of senior royals and Prime Minister David Cameron at London’s Royal Albert Hall yesterday to honour the war dead and pay tribute to veterans from all conflicts in the annual event.

The Book of Remembrance was delivered to the stage by Corporal Anna Cross, a reservist with the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps who recently travelled to Sierra Leone to help with the devastating Ebola crisis.

That country’s outbreak has now been declared over by the World Health Organisation, but Cpl Cross’s story highlighted the varied nature of service to the country.

The mood fell even more sombre when The Last Post rang out in the theatre, and during the minutes of silence poppy petals drifted from the ceiling.

The service concluded with traditional prayers, hymns and blessings before an enthusiastic rendition of God Save the Queen.

Last night the Queen and a host of senior royals joined thousands at London’s Royal Albert Hall to honour the war dead and pay tribute to veterans from all conflicts.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn also attended.

The programme began on a touching note with a citation written and recited by Afghanistan veteran Paul Jacobs, who lost his sight after helping save others from an IED (improvised explosive device) blast. He was awarded the George Medal for his bravery.

In a video interview, he said: “I am now no longer a soldier, I am a wounded person that’s got a whole life that wasn’t planned out.”

This year marks a number of significant anniversaries in the UK’s military history, including the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Squadron Leader Tony Pickering, 95, shared his experience flying Hurricanes in the battle as a young man.

He said: “We never gave up control of the sky ... we never gave it up.”

Mr Pickering’s story served as a reminder of the courageous and tireless work ethic of those who fought in the war. Two months into his duty, he was shot down over Caterham, but flew again the next day.

He said: “Thank goodness I’ve got to a stage in my life where I’m not dominated by the events of the past.

“I don’t like to think about the horrors of war.”

Those horrors, the service was reminded, took many forms.

On the 70th anniversary year of the end of the Second World War, 94-year-old veteran Bob Hucklesby, of Dorset, recalled his experience as a prisoner from 1942.

During four years in a camp, Mr Hucklesby survived disease, forced labour and horrendous conditions, weighing just seven stone when he returned. He was one of 190,000 military personnel captured.

He said he “really knew things were tough” after seeing Japanese troops execute six people and put their heads on poles.

Of his mindset at the time, he said: “You had to be determined.

“If you ever gave up, you were dead in three days.”

Widows Kathryn Williams, Michelle Stead, and Sheila Griffiths-Gibson all lost their husbands in 2005 when the men’s Hercules was shot down in Iraq. Michelle’s husband David Stead was a Flight Lieutenant from Burley-in-Wharfedale.

Sheila said: “We’re so lucky to have each other - very lucky.”

“Some people have to go through this alone.”

The ceremony also included tributes to the Brigade of Gurkhas, which is celebrating 200 years in the British Army and 100 years alongside British and Commonwealth forces at Gallipoli.

The audience was treated to musical interludes with performances by singers Pixie Lott, Andrea Bocelli and Rod Stewart - who sang a new composition called Way Back Home to honour the Second World War generation.

American Jazz vocalist Gregory Porter delivered a haunting rendition of Amazing Grace.

Members of all of sections of the Armed Forces were inspected by Her Majesty during the muster.

The Book of Remembrance was delivered to the stage by Corporal Anna Cross, a reservist with the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps who recently travelled to Sierra Leone to help with the devastating Ebola crisis.

That country’s outbreak has now been declared over by the World Health Organisation, however Cpl Cross’s story highlighted the varied nature of service to the country.

Of working at the forefront of the crippling epidemic, she said: “It felt like everyone was going to die.”

Cpl Cross reflected on developing the illness herself, but said she did not regret going to Sierra Leone.

The mood fell even more sombre when The Last Post rang out in the theatre, and during the minutes of silence poppy petals drifted from the ceiling.

The service concluded with traditional prayers, hymns and blessings before an enthusiastic rendition of God Save the Queen.