Britain remembers its war dead

Brokers and underwriters line the balconies and escalators of the Lloyd's of London building in central London on Monday, Nov 11, 2013, during a two-minute silence observed in memory of Britain's war dead. Britons paused to remember the nation's
Brokers and underwriters line the balconies and escalators of the Lloyd's of London building in central London on Monday, Nov 11, 2013, during a two-minute silence observed in memory of Britain's war dead. Britons paused to remember the nation's war dead on Monday during a two-minute silence marking the moment the World War I guns stopped. -- PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Britons paused to remember the nation's war dead on Monday during a two-minute silence marking the moment the World War I guns stopped.

Acts of remembrance took place across the country at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, when the Great War armistice came into effect in 1918.

London Heathrow, the world's busiest international passenger airport, came to a standstill, with travellers pausing in silence in the terminals.

At the National Memorial Arboretum near Lichfield in central England, the last surviving World War I widow, Dorothy Ellis, was among those taking part in a remembrance ceremony.

The memorial is designed so that at 11.00am on November 11, a shaft of light falls through the stone monument onto a wreath in the centre.

In London, hundreds joined in the "Silence in the Square" event staged by the Royal British Legion veterans' charity in Trafalgar Square, while traffic came to a halt.

Brokers and underwriters in the Lloyd's of London insurance market building also stood to remember.

Trainee players at English Premier League football side West Ham paused where they stood during training, while Twitter users reported bus drivers stopping and turning off their engines.

Queen Elizabeth II led the nation's tribute to the war dead by laying a wreath at the Cenotaph national war memorial in London during the main Remembrance Sunday service.

Justin Welby, the Church of England's spiritual leader, visited the monument on Monday to mark Armistice Day.

"At this time of year, it's essential that we remember and give thanks for all those who gave their lives for the sake of freedom in the two World Wars, and also remember those who still risk their lives as servicemen and women in our armed forces," the Archbishop of Canterbury said.

"It's a time to recommit ourselves to the cause of peace and to seek to play our own small part as agents of reconciliation."

Queen Elizabeth's husband Prince Philip, 92, who fought in the Royal Navy in World War II, was in Belgium on Monday to attend a Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres, a Flanders town reduced to rubble during World War I.

The Last Post is sounded every evening at the memorial, which is dedicated to British and Commonwealth soldiers who died in battles around Ypres, and whose graves are unknown.

Nearly 55,000 names are engraved on its walls.