Sunday 11 November 2012

Remembering sergeant Armitage

Today, on Remembrance Sunday, I would like to pay my respects to those who sacrificed their lives, their future and their freedom for future generations. I have always been especially interested in the stories behind World War I and II, both the grand strategic and political decisions and the personal stories of soldiers, civilians, families and villages. I’ve travelled to places like London, Paris and Berlin to understand how these cities and their people were affected by the wars and I’ve visited the important landmarks and memorials in my own country (e.g. Tyne Cot cemetery in Paschendaele, Menin Gate in Ypres, the woods of The Ardennes).

When I visit a war cemetery, I try to stop at as many graves as I can to read the name that is on the gravestone out loud. It’s my own personal way of honouring them and thanking them for their sacrifice.
Last week, I visited the Commonwealth War Cemetery at Hotton (Belgium), where I found this grave.

Final resting place of Sergeant P.S. Armitage
The text on the gravestone reads:
1809956 sergeant
Air Gunner
Royal Air force
2nd March 1945 Age 21

The Lord is my shepherd

I shall not want

He maketh me to lie down

In green pastures
The records of Hotton Cemetery provide the following information:
VI.A.3. United Kingdom Sergeant ( Air Gnr. ) 1809956 Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
2nd March 1945. Age 21. Son of George Henry and Louise Hilda Ellen Armitage of East Barnet Hertfordshire. Unit: 622 Sqdn.

The War Cemetery at Hotton (Belgium) is the final resting place of 665 British and Commonwealth soldiers killed during WWII and the Battle of the Ardennes. Among them was one Belgian who fought with the 53rd Welsh Division.

I’ve seen the name Armitage in these war cemeteries before. I distinctly remember standing by a grave at the WWI memorial cemetery Tyne Cot near Paschendaele here in Belgium and I recently found out that the Tyne Cot memorial contains sculpture by a man named Joseph Armitage.

The Tyne Cot Memorial that surrounds the cemetery (unveiled on 20 June 1927) now bears the names of almost 35,000 officers and men whose graves are not known.  

“They shall not grow old, as we who are left grow old

Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We shall remember them”
Lucas North (Richard Armitage) wear the poppy, the symbol of Remembrance, in Episode 1 of Season 7 of Spooks (BBC)


  1. The poem at the end was recited by a young girl in our church today followed by a sounding of The Last Post. Very moving.

    "Lest we forget"

  2. Visiting graveyards is a nice way of honouring those who have left this world. I wish graveyards weren't viewed with such horror and distaste in our society.
    I have also been interested in the Armitage name lately (I wonder why? LOL). It seems to be quite a common family name, especially in Northern England.