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NATO troops mark Armistice centenary in Gloucestershire

GLOUCESTERSHIRE, United Kingdom - NATO's Allied Rapid Reaction Corps has been proudly marking 100 years since the Armistice that ended the fighting of the First World War.

In a series of poignant events held across Gloucestershire in the west of England, troops serving with the multinational Alliance have paid their respects to the fallen of the Great War.

One century on from the precise moment that marked the end of the conflict - the 11th hour of 11 November 1918 - crowds stood ten deep at Gloucester's War Memorial as NATO soldiers joined local military units, veterans and hundreds of cadets.

The minute's silence was perfectly observed, interrupted only by the sun breaking through the autumnal rain clouds.

Major General Will Bramble of the British Army laid a wreath on behalf of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, before the troops marched through the city centre to the appreciative applause of the people of Gloucester.

The U.K.-based NATO formation was present at similar events held in Cheltenham and elsewhere across Gloucestershire. In Tewkesbury, over 150 soldiers from the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps' Support Battalion exercised the freedom of the borough, marching to the town's medieval abbey church for a special Remembrance service.

Throughout its history the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps has played a key role in international events. A century ago, as the British 'First Corps', it fought in France and Belgium during the First World War.

This year British and French comrades serving together in the U.K. have been wearing the British Remembrance Poppy and 'Le Bleuet de France'(cornflower) to mark the anniversary of the end of the war.

Meanwhile German troops, once enemies but today important NATO allies, have also paid their respects. After a ceremony held at the Alliance's base in Gloucestershire, Colonel Frank Düwel, the senior German representative serving with the Corps, acknowledged: "As you can imagine for me and Germans it is not easy.

"But of course we are remembering all the dead, and all the victims of violence and war. And to do that together with our allies shows, like the famous Christmas truce and football match of 1914, that all the soldiers fought for their nations, for their families and for their comrades.

"I think to remember them and their ultimate sacrifice reminds us of our bounden duty to preserve the peace."

Story by Allied Rapid Reaction Corps Public Affairs Office  

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Imjin Barracks
United Kingdom