Invictus Games to feature a drumhead service

The inaugural Invictus Games for injured servicemen is to feature a drumhead service to remember those who have been killed or injured in conflict.

Prince Harry poses for photographs during the announcement of the130-strong British team for the Invictus Games Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

The event will take place on September 11, the anniversary of the 2001 terror attacks in the United States, and also comes in the centenary of the start of the First World War, organisers said. The multi-faith service will take place at London's Lee Valley Athletics Centre, which hosts the track and field events that afternoon, and will be conducted by senior chaplains from the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force, with attendees representing 13 nations that have served alongside each other in recent conflicts and now face one another in the sporting arena.

Drums are used in place of an altar to replicate services held on the front-line 100 years ago, during the drumhead service, to commemorate the centenary of the First World War at Edinburgh Castle. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Drumhead services date back hundreds of years to when regimental drums were used to communicate orders on the battlefield. Soldiers would make a pile of drums to provide a makeshift altar, often draped with the standards or colours of the regiment, so a religious service could be held on the field of battle.

The Invictus Games medals (top) and participant medallion (bottom, front and back) being unveiled at the Garrard jewellers in central London. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

The Invictus Games' service will start at 12.30pm on September 11 when the buglers of the band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, HMS Collingwood will build the drumhead as the choir from the Royal Hospital School, Holbrook, Suffolk, lead the opening hymn.

"This is a timely opportunity for competitors and spectators alike to show their support and gratitude for all those who gave, and give, so much."

– Sir Keith Mills, chairman of the Invictus Games