1948: Although continuous rain Kept the crowd in Whitehall as small as it has ever been since this corporate act of remembrance was first instituted, the occasion followed the pattern of former years.
The decorations of sailors, soldiers and airmen were hidden by their greatcoats, and the mackintosh-clad crowd added no colour to the sombre scene.
A gun fired on Horse Guards Parade at 11 o’clock signalled the silence, a second gun ended it, and as the great assembly stirred, trumpeters, drawn up before the Cenotaph, sounded the Last Post.
It had rained throughout much of the night and during the morning, and the gathering in Whitehall was a sombre one.
The northern end of Whitehall, which in former years had been filled with people, was empty, but the pavements near the Cenotaph were well filled.
The first wreath was laid by the King, and he was followed by other members of the Royal family, then by Mr. Attlee, the Prime Minister, and Mr. Churchill, the wartime Prime Minister.