Theresa May puts the armistice wreath next to the German leader in historical act

Theresa May puts the armistice wreath next to the German leader in historical act

In a historic act of reconciliation, a German leader will put a wreath on Cenotaph for the first time on Memorial Sunday – for the end of World War I is one hundred years old.

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will be laying a wreath with Theresa May during the ceremony.

Both will visit a special service at Westminster Abbey later in the day.

It will come after the Prime Minister travels to Belgium and France during the ceasefire commemoration.

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier
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Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will lay a wreath on the cenotaph

During Ms. May's visit, she will lay a wreath at the graves of John Parr, the first British soldier killed in 1914. The last one, George Ellison, was killed at 9:30 am before the truce at 11:00.

At the Belgian cemetery they happen to be facing each other.

"Next week will be one of the most significant moments in the history of our country," said Ms. May.

"One hundred years after the cannons on the Western Front fell silent, each one of us can pause to reflect on the immense sacrifices made by so many.

"The battlefields of France and Belgium are shaken by the horrors of war, but the strength and closeness of our relationship today is testament to the common journey of our countries.

Ms. May, pictured at the Whitehall Commemoration in 2017, will place a wreath next to a German guide
Image:
Ms. May, pictured at the Whitehall Commemoration in 2017, will place a wreath next to a German guide

"I am proud to represent the great gratitude of our nation in these commemorations and to share these moments of reflection with our friends and partners in Europe."

The Prime Minister's program also includes a visit to the military cemetery St Symphorien in Mons, Belgium on Friday.

She travels to France and meets President Albert Macron in Albert, a historic city in the heart of the Somme, which suffered a serious bomb attack during World War I.

"The visit will give the two leaders the opportunity to reflect on the unique shared history of our two countries and the importance of its 100th anniversary," said a statement from 10 Downing Street.

The couple attend a working lunch before attending a wreath-laying ceremony at the Thiepval Memorial, which bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and forces killed in the battle.

A special wreath will be created combining poppy seeds and Le Bleuet, the two national emblems of memory for Great Britain and France.

More from the First World War

On Saturday night, the Prime Minister will join the Royal Family in the Royal British Legion Remembrance Festival (RBL) at the Royal Albert Hall.

The PM said to the PMQs this week: "What the ceasefire gives us is an opportunity to gather together to remember the huge casualties sacrificed during the war, but also to partner with our German friends to mark the reconciliation and the peace between our two nations. "

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