Commonwealth flag raising ceremony

Today the Chairman held the annual commonwealth flag raising ceremony at County Hall which was attended by a small but growing gathering of group leaders and representatives, executive directors and department representatives as well as a visitor from Canada.  The Chairman of the Royal British Legion Norfolk, John Boisson, read The Commonwealth Affirmation and our Chairman read extracts from a letter from The Right Honourable Patricia Scotland QC Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations.

This was then followed by the reading of the Queen's message to the commonwealth and the Single Commemorative Act to mark the centenary of World War One.

It is worth remembering that a century ago three million men and women volunteered from all corners of the world to fight for a King and country many had never seen.  They gave up their jobs, their families and often their lives to face hardship and unspeakable horrors – from the mud of the western front, to the swamps and deserts of Mesopotamia and East Africa.

175 people from the Commonwealth were awarded Britain’s highest military honour, the Victoria Cross.  Around the world, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission commemorates the names of over 1.1 million Commonwealth servicemen and women who lost their lives in the Great War.

Quite simply, Britain and her allies could not have prevailed without these brave men and women.  We owe our friends in the Commonwealth an enormous debt of gratitude. They fought together, they fell together, and together they defended the freedoms we enjoy today. 

That is why the Single Commemorative Act is important.  The ceremony consisted of four lighted candles to represent the years of the First World War, then the extinguishing of these candles to represent the darkness that fell across Europe from 1914 -1918 and a moment of silent reflection and prayer by our Chaplain Revd Dr Liviu Barbu, followed by three of the candles being relit to represent the light slowly returning.

These candles will be lit now until next Commonwealth day, when all the candles will be relit to represent the end of the First World War and the light returning to Europe.

The candles can be seen in the Marble Map Area near the Victoria Cross display.