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1 Comment | Vintage
This is a picture of the Coffin of the Unknown Warrior sitting in Westminster Abbery before being transported to France. After being brought back to Westminster, the grave, which contains soil from France, is covered by a slab of black Belgian marble. On it is the following inscription, composed by Herbert Ryle, Dean of Westminster:
>BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY
>OF A BRITISH WARRIOR
>UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK
>BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG
>THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND
>AND BURIED HERE ON ARMISTICE DAY
>11 NOV: 1920, IN THE PRESENCE OF
>HIS MAJESTY KING GEORGE V
>HIS MINISTERS OF STATE
>THE CHIEFS OF HIS FORCES
>AND A VAST CONCOURSE OF THE NATION
>THUS ARE COMMEMORATED THE MANY
>MULTITUDES WHO DURING THE GREAT
>WAR OF 1914-1918 GAVE THE MOST THAT
>MAN CAN GIVE LIFE ITSELF
>FOR KING AND COUNTRY
>FOR LOVED ONES HOME AND EMPIRE
>FOR THE SACRED CAUSE OF JUSTICE AND
>THE FREEDOM OF THE WORLD
>THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE
>HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD
The Reverend David Railton (1884-1955), a chaplain who had served on the front, had come up with the idea of an ‘Unknown Warrior’ when he noticed in 1916 in a back garden at Armentières, a grave with a rough cross on which were pencilled the words “An Unknown British Soldier”. In August 1920 he wrote to the Dean of Westminster. The body was chosen from unknown British servicemen exhumed from four battle areas, the Aisne, the Somme, Arras and Ypres. (some sources say six bodies but confirmed accounts say four).
The remains were brought to the chapel at St. Pol on the night of 7th November 1920. The General Officer in charge of troops in France and Flanders, Brigadier General L.J. Wyatt, went into the chapel alone, where the bodies on stretchers were covered by Union Flags. They had no idea from which area the bodies had come. General Wyatt selected one and the two officers placed it in a plain coffin and sealed it.
In the morning Chaplains of the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church and Non-Conformist churches held a service in the chapel before the body was escorted to Boulogne to rest overnight. The next day the coffin was placed inside the coffin in this picture, made of two-inch thick oak from a tree which had grown in Hampton Court Palace garden, lined with zinc. It was covered with the flag that David Railton had used as an altar cloth during the War (known as the Ypres or Padre’s Flag, which now hangs in St George’s Chapel). Within the wrought iron bands of this coffin had been placed a 16th century crusader’s sword from the Tower of London collection.
The coffin plate bore the inscription:
>A British Warrior who fell in the Great War 1914-1918 for King and Country.
The destroyer HMS Verdun, whose ship’s bell was presented to the Abbey and now hangs near the grave ([Picture](https://i.imgur.com/Hxj0QZD.jpg)), transported the coffin to Dover and it was then taken by train to Victoria station in London where it rested overnight.
^Text ^adapted ^from [^Westminster ^Abbey ^Site](https://www.westminster-abbey.org/abbey-commemorations/commemorations/unknown-warrior/)
[Picture of the Burial site on Remeberancetide](https://i.imgur.com/JgayEBG.jpg)
[Alternate angle of the coffin before going](https://i.imgur.com/OLXwZUx.jpg)