Thursday, September 10, 2015

Relieving The Sentries

Through many times of the year, the War Memorial is a place where wreaths are placed and ceremonies held. On the day I took this first shot, a number of veterans who had formed motorbiker groups had come to the Memorial to place wreaths and say a few words. Sentries and officers were at attention, and a number of the public looked on.

On the day that I took the rest of these shots, it was the anniversary in August of the end of the Second World War in the Pacific, so wreathes had been placed up on the Memorial steps, and flowers adorned the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier.

Once an hour, the sentries are relieved. There is a ritual taking place each time, with the new guard marching up onto the Memorial grounds to the accompaniment of a bagpiper.

The new sentries join their counterparts at either side of the Memorial while the senior officer with them (actually a senior non-commissioned officer in this case) recites their responsibilities. The servicemen you see in these shots were from armoured units out in the West, taking part as many soldiers, sailors, and airmen from across the services do from April through November here.

With the new guard in place, the old guard march off.

They join the bagpiper, who leads the way.

And this group heads back away from the Memorial. They have space not far away, down below Plaza Bridge, where sentries can rest, relax, and get something to drink. It's likely that these sentries will take other shifts before the day is through.


  1. Yes sir, this is perfectly described and step by step.


  2. What an honour to be chosen for this duty.

  3. The tradition and ceremony must be quite a tourist attraction William, love the bagpipes!

  4. This kind of ceremonies are great photo opportunities!

  5. A lot of ceremonies every day there and attractive to watch for everyone.

  6. Looks beautiful ceremony..I love the second picture very much where flowers are placed on the tomb.

  7. I agree partially with VP, they are also great video opportunities :)

  8. Fascinating, William. I confess that I have never watched the changing of the guard.

  9. It looks like a very dignified ceremony.

  10. Similar to the "Tomb of the Unknowns" here in Washington, DC. Lots of pomp and circumstance.

  11. Very interesting to watch...and I love to hear the bagpipes.

  12. Reminds me of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington.

  13. Neat! William, are you in trouble on FB again? Being shadowed perhaps?

  14. @Tomas: indeed!

    @Orvokki: it's the sort of ceremony, however brief, that still makes me want to stop and watch, no matter how many times I've photographed it.

    @Halcyon: the men and women who do this certainly do see it as an honour.

    @Grace: it does seem to always draw people in to watch.

    @VP: they certainly are!

    @Marianne: it is good to watch.

    @Tamago: it was quite appropriate on that day. I'd missed the ceremony itself.

    @Karl: the only time I've tried the video feature on my camera, I got the audio but not the video!

    @EG: if you're ever up here during the season, it's well worth watching.

    @Sharon: it certainly is.

    @Birdman: the concept would be very much the same.

    @Janey: I love the bagpipes too, and in this location, you can hear them from quite a ways off, even with traffic in the area.

    @Linda: that appears to be the consensus. Our Unknown Soldier fell at Vimy Ridge in World War One.

    @Linda: shadowed indeed! That's my runaround for the present time. It seems Facebook seems to think that telling someone they should learn the meaning of communism before throwing it around (and then suggesting they're not really capable of learning) violates their so called code of conduct.

    1. Obviously someone reported you. I don't think a real person at FB has evaluated the claim; you are the victim of a vindictive person and a robot!

  15. We don't often see such activity. It's good for us to observe. My son was in the reserves and I attended many of his events. It broadened my understanding of canada.

  16. This is all most interesting - fascinating, actually. So many have given so much over the years!

  17. apparently there r many unknown solider n the world. sad but at least they r well honored & remembered. ( ;

    i love bagpipe music. give it is part of my family heritage as well.

  18. You did such a fine job showing us the ceremony!

  19. What a lovely ceremony, and very well documented, William. Thanks for sharing these photos.

  20. Heartbreaking beautiful.

    cheers, parsnip

  21. Very much appreciated by this ex military person!
    Jane x

  22. Must be impressive to witness this ceremony.

  23. @Linda: I know exactly who reported me. It's the double standard I don't like- the site literally lets white supremacists, misogynists, and other bigots get away with saying whatever they want, and slap suspensions on people who don't deserve it for nothing.

    @Red: it is a ceremony well worth seeing.

    @Lowell: and I think as time goes on, more people are aware of it.

    @Beth: with this particular soldier, while we don't know his name, we do know where he fell, and it was one of the most horrendous battles of the Great War, but also a key moment in our country's history.

    @RedPat: thank you!

    @Marleen: thanks!

    @Linda: you're welcome.

    @Parsnip: thank you.

    @Cloudia: indeed.

    @Jane and Chris: and it's a good thing to present it.

    @Jan: It certainly is.

  24. A wonderful series of shots. I love seeing the bagpiper.

  25. Deve ser muito interessante poder testemunhar esse evento
    E suas belas fotos reportam com maestria o acontecimento William
    Um abraço,

  26. Good stuff William, I like the second picture a lot..

  27. I'm glad you showed this! Thank you.

  28. It certainly is a beautiful ceremony. Superb photos William.

  29. I'm glad warriors are so honored.

  30. The tomb of the Unknown Soldier is always a heart-breaker no matter what country. It makes me think of all those in our Civil War that did not return home and there was no way to notify anyone.

  31. I love this post. I will be celebrating the 90th birthday of a WWII Veteran friend tomorrow, and will again thank him for his service.

  32. Piping the changing of the guard sounds so lovely. The presentation of the unknown soldier feature in the second photo is delightful.

  33. Oh I enjoy bagpipe music. Love the sound. My dad played them.
    Very touching pictures.

  34. I wish we could hear them. Bet it was great.

  35. @Lois: thank you!

    @Gracita: thanks!

    @Geoff: so do I.

    @Jennifer: you're welcome.

    @Denise: thank you!

    @Kay: it is well worth doing so.

    @Mari: and every once in awhile the ground gives up a body of war.

    @Norma: I do too.

    @Theresa: as do I.

    @Genie: thank you!

    @Gemma: I agree.

    @Carolann: thanks!

    @Whisk: it was.