Armistice Day: Poppies to Paddington operation carries more than 100 wreaths to the capital

Handout photo issued by Great Western Railway (GWR) of poppy wreaths on board the 0.900am train service from Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington for operation "Poppies to Paddington". GWR have joined forces with The Veterans Charity to transport memorial wreaths from around the UK on train services into London Paddington to be laid around the station's war memorial for the two minutes silence to remember the war dead on Armistice Day.
Credit: GWR

More than 100 poppy wreaths have been transported by rail to Paddington station for Armistice Day.

The Poppies to Paddington operation involved nine trains travelling across the Great Western Railway network.

With many remembrance events cancelled this year because of the pandemic, GWR worked with the Veterans Charity to co-ordinate wreaths being placed on early morning London-bound trains.

Military personnel observe the two minute silence at Paddington Station in London, for 'Poppies to Paddington' Credit: GWR

Poppies were put on trains at more than 60 stations, including Penzance, Hereford, Paignton, Swansea, Taunton, Worcester Shrub Hill, Cheltenham Spa, Bristol Temple Meads and Oxford.

D-Day veteran Horace “Harry” Billinge provided a wreath which was put on board a train recently named in his honour.

On arrival at Paddington, the wreaths were placed at a war memorial on Platform 1 in time for a remembrance service at 11am.

Military personnel carry poppy wreaths at Paddington Station in London Credit: GWR

GWR said the train operator was “determined Remembrance Day should be marked in the best way possible” despite changes caused by Covid-19.

He added that Poppies to Paddington allowed “all those organisations who would usually be present for the remembrance services at London Paddington and around the region to pay tribute to the fallen by laying a wreath”.

Iain Henderson, trustee of the Veterans Charity, said the operation meant “people from across the region can still pay respects… from the safety of their home”.