Embassy commemorates 11 November
On the anniversary of the signature of the Armistice on 11 November 1918, two ceremonies in London honour all those who died for France
11 November 2016
Ambassador Sylvie Bermann presided first over a military parade at Brookwood military cemetery alongside Olivier Cadic, Senator for French nationals living abroad, Sylvaine Carta-Le Vert, the French Consul General, and Rear Admiral Patrick Chevallereau, the Defence Attaché. During the ceremony, Vice-Admiral Bruno Paulmier and Commander Eric Aujean were presented with the Légion d’honneur. Commander Laurent Toncelli was also awarded the Ordre national du Mérite.
Five junior officers from the French military academy of Saint-Cyr and representatives of French veterans’ associations joined civilian and military members of the Embassy’s defence department to pay tribute to the French and foreign soldiers who gave their lives in the First and Second World Wars.
The Ambassador said: “This is a year when we commemorate the centenary of the two bloodiest battles of the Great War: the Battle of Verdun, which, over 10 long months of suffering, claimed hundreds of thousands of lives; and the Battle of the Somme, the first joint Franco-British offensive of the First World War, where more than 206,000 British and 66,000 French soldiers lost their lives.
2016 is also a year when, in a specific European and international context, we’re keen to reaffirm the strength of Franco-British friendship and cooperation, particularly in the area of defence.”
A second ceremony, attended by the Ambassador and the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Steve Summers, took place at the foot of the Marshal Foch statue in London.
M. Christophe Premat, National Assembly Deputy for French citizens living in Northern Europe, Mme Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam, Senator for French nationals living abroad, and the French Consul General were present, alongside 10 Scots Guards from the Household Division and delegations from French voluntary organizations and schools in London, including the Lycée Charles de Gaulle and the Lycée International Winston Churchill.
At the end of the day, the Ambassador and the Defence Attaché also awarded the Légion d’honneur to 21 British Second World War veterans, at a ceremony at the French Residence. This ceremony followed a number of others that have taken place around the UK since the 70th anniversary of D-Day in June 2014, when President François Hollande pledged to honour all British veterans who had served in France during the war.
To see all the photos taken at the event, click the image below.