Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday
The signing of the Armistice on 11 November 1918 marked the end of the First World War, a date that we now commemorate with Remembrance Day in honour of those who have fallen to secure and protect our freedom.
The first official Armistice Day celebrations were held by King George V at Buckingham Palace in 1919 when he hosted Raymond Poincaré, the President of France.
Today it is observed by all nations of the Commonwealth, while many other countries mark the anniversary as a day of memorial. A one- or two-minute silence is traditionally held at 11.00am, recognising the precise time that the hostilities ceased in 1918 – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
Most British cities hold ceremonies at war memorials and in public spaces. In London, a national memorial ceremony takes place at the Cenotaph on Whitehall, when Royal Marine buglers sound “The Last Post” and wreaths are laid by members of the Royal Family, political party leaders, significant military figures and civilians.
Remembrance Day takes on an added significance this year (2018) as the centenary of the end of the First World War.
The poppy has been a prominent symbol of remembrance for almost a century, with millions of commemorative flowers produced every year to pay tribute to those who have fallen.
In 1915, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae from Canada, observed the poppies growing in the fields of Ypres and subsequently wrote the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ and the line “In Flanders fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row”.
The poppy was adopted as a symbol of remembrance by the newly-formed Royal British Legion, a charity established to provide support for members and veterans of the British Armed Forces and their families.
Outside the UK, poppies are predominantly worn in Commonwealth nations such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and to a lesser extent in the US.
The poppy is:
A symbol of Remembrance and hope
Worn by millions of people
Red because of the natural colour of field poppies
The poppy is NOT:
A symbol of death or a sign of support for war
A reflection of politics or religion
Red to reflect the colour of blood
Wearing a poppy is a personal choice and reflects individual and personal memories. It is not compulsory but is greatly appreciated by those it helps – those currently serving in our Armed Forces, veterans, and their families and dependants.
We have created a 45% volume gin in memory of our late father, Tommy Wilson, which we launched in October 2017. Tommy served in the Suez invasion, with the British Army and passed away in late August 2016. As ‘Tommy’ is also a generic name and term of endearment for a soldier, it seemed appropriate that this gin should be called Tommy’s.
Thomas followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Army himself, serving in the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment (1PARA). Thomas served multiple tours including Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Sierra Leone. He also worked as a Private Military Contractor in Afghanistan. Thomas continues to support the festival of Remembrance and is the Parade Commander of the local parade in Portree, Isle of Skye.
Military charities are close to Thomas’ heart and the decision to donate to these charities from every sale of a bottle of Tommy’s gin was an easy one to make.
The imagery and artwork on the Tommy’s Gin bottle draw inspiration from the Commando Memorial, near Spean Bridge which we pass every week as we deliver our gin to the mainland.
The memorial is one of the UK’s best-known monuments, both as a war memorial and as a tourist attraction offering spectacular views of Ben Nevis and Aonach Mòr.
Each year over the weekend of Remembrance Sunday the WWII, post-war and present-day Commandos and their families and friends gather at Spean Bridge’s famous Commando Memorial to remember comrades who have died. Both Army and Royal Marine Commandos and special units from all forces are represented and many former comrades are reunited for the first time at this emotional service.