Queen and party leaders honour war dead at festival of remembrance

Tributes also paid to surviving war veterans at Royal Albert Hall, in ceremony featuring performances by Rod Stewart and others

David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn joined the Queen and other royals and dignitaries to honour the war dead and pay tribute to veterans at the annual festival of remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The programme on Saturday began with a citation written and recited by Afghanistan veteran Paul Jacobs, who lost his sight after helping save others from an 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 and the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war.

The ceremony also included tributes to the Brigade of Gurkhas, which is celebrating 200 years in the British army and 100 years since its soldiers served with British and Commonwealth forces at Gallipoli.

The audience heard from a number of war veterans who shared their experiences. There were also musical performances by singers Andrea Bocelli, Pixie Lott 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 rendition of Amazing Grace.

The Book of Remembrance was delivered to the stage by Cpl 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 was declared over by the World Health Organisation on Saturday, and 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.”

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

On Sunday, the Queen is due to lead the national service of remembrance at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.

Staff and agencies

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