Twenty-seven veterans from across the world attended a Remembrance Day ceremony on Saturday at Government House, where leaders laid wreaths to honour military personnel who have died in the line of duty. The annual observance, also known as Armistice Day, commemorates the signing of the armistice at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918 that led to the end of the
First World War.
At 11 a.m. during the Government House ceremony, attendees observed a two-minute silence. Then wreaths were laid by Governor John Rankin, acting Premier Kye Rymer, Police Commissioner Mark Collins, and Brenda Herbert-Stewart of the United States Army.
In a speech, Mr. Rankin spoke about the poppies that are traditionally worn in commemoration of the observance.
“I wear my poppy in memory of my father, who served with the Royal Air Force in World War II,” Mr. Rankin said. “And I wear it as a mark of my respect for all those, including our veterans here today, who have served or continue to serve to protect the rights of freedom we enjoy, including here in these Virgin Islands.”
Private Samuel Hodge
The governor also remembered Private Samuel Hodge, who was born in Tortola in 1840 and went on to receive the Victoria Cross, the highest British award for bravery, for his actions while serving in the West India Regiment in Gambia in 1866.
“He was the first — and as far as I am aware, the only — BVIslander to be awarded the Victoria Cross,” Mr. Rankin said. “His story is a remarkable one. He was the ‘bravest soldier’ in his regiment.”
The governor called for a war memorial to be erected in the Queen Elizabeth II Park to remember Mr. Hodge and others who have served in the armed forces. “We owe a huge debt to our service people, past, present and future,” he said. “We will remember them, and I salute all of you who are gathered here this morning.”
The ceremony was broadcast on the government’s Facebook page.
Veterans can register
To register with the Governor’s Office to be invited to future Remembrance Day events, veterans residing in the territory can email govoffice.Tortola@fcdo.gov.uk.