Queen leads Britain's remembrance of war dead

Monarch lays wreath at Cenotaph in London as MoD announces death of UK soldier in Afghanistan

The Queen today led Britain in the country's remembrance of its war dead at the annual wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in London.

After a two-minute silence in Whitehall at 11am, the monarch led politicians and military and religious figures in laying a wreath at the base of the war memorial.

Prince Harry laid a wreath on behalf of Prince Charles, who is carrying out official duties in Canada, before the prime minister, Gordon Brown, the Conservative leader, David Cameron, and the Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, also laid wreaths.

This year, Remembrance Sunday commemorations across the country have seen an emphasis on Afghanistan, where soldiers gathered to pay their respects to fallen comrades.

Today, the Ministry of Defence announced that a British soldier had died in an explosion in southern Afghanistan yesterday.

A total of 231 British troops have died in the country since the war began, with 94 having been killed this year.

The soldier, from 2nd Battalion the Rifles, was killed in an explosion near Sangin, in central Helmand province, the MoD said.

The man, who has not yet been named, was serving with 4th Battalion the Rifles when he died. His next of kin have been informed.

Lieutenant Colonel David Wakefield, a spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said he would "not be forgotten".

"It is my sad duty to inform you that a soldier from the Rifles was killed ... in an explosion near Sangin, in Helmand province," he said.

"He died a soldier, doing his duty and among his fellow soldiers. He will not be forgotten."

Services are taking place in Britain and Afghanistan to mark Remembrance Sunday.

Earlier today, hundreds of soldiers gathered at the main British base in Afghanistan to pay their respects to fallen comrades.

Wreaths were laid and a minutes silence held after a week in which seven UK soldiers have died in Afghanistan, five of them killed in a gun attack by a rogue Afghan policeman.

"Remembrance Day is about remembering the dead of the Great War, the second world war, and all those who have died since," Brigadier James Cowan, the commander of Task Force Helmand, said.

"Here we are in Afghanistan remembering those of our comrades who have died in this conflict.

"We've been at war now for nearly eight years, both in Iraq and Afghanistan and it's a particularly poignant week at the end of which seven of our friends are dead."


Adam Gabbatt and agencies

The GuardianTramp

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