The City holds its Garden of Remembrance Service on the Monday before 11 November. It is an open air event held on the north-eastern side of St Pauls.
A wide cross section of the City attend led by the Lord Mayor. This year he was travelling abroad and was represented by Lord Levene of Portsoken.
The current National President of the Royal British Legion is Lieutenant General Sir John Kiszely. When were majors at Staff College thirty years ago we shared a house in a distant suburb of Camberley. I can recall that he was worried about my getting out of shape prior to the Staff College summer holidays. In good infantry officer style he took me through some tough 'beastings' to get me toned up.
But to return to the present. The weather was quite ferocious which was not in any way relieved by the more experienced saying that it never rained at this service. From the military historical viewpoint we were put through a reasonable replay of final stages of the Third Battle of Ypres - where Haig encountered the worst weather in Flanders for fifty years.
John Kiszely, in a pre-service talk in the St Paul's crypt, told us of the wonderful work that volunteers had done to make this year's poppy appeal a record breaking event. In a single day a team of highty motivated and meticulously prepared individuals had raised over £250,000. A great achievement. For more information go to www.BritishLegion.org.uk
The crosses on the Field of Remembrance were planted by a wide range of City organisations including all 108 livery companies. Throughout we were accompanied by the Royal British Legion whose flagbearers faced quite a challenge to keep their standards steady in the wind and rain. The Band of the Scots Guards also did spendidly playing in such difficult circumstances.
A moving ceremony that allowed all of us to demonstrate our gratitude for the commitment of our Services past and present.