Windrush Square ceremonies as Brixton remembers the fallen

Army cadets prepare to lay wreaths
Army cadets prepare to lay wreaths at the 2019 memorial event in Windrush Square

Brixton will remember people who died fighting for Britain with ceremonies in Windrush Square tomorrow (14 November).

Military and other units are due to leave Max Roach Park at 10.35 am to march down Brixton Road to Windrush Square for a parade from 10.45 to 1pm.

This will be followed by a ceremony at 1.30pm marking the re-opening of the African-Caribbean war and peace memorial in the square.

The memorial was created and is maintained by the Nubian Jak Community Trust.

The trust said hundreds of people are expected to gather in the square, including war veterans, serving members of the armed forces, cadets, representatives from Commonwealth countries, and members of Parliament.

The unveiling ceremony will include a military salute, a display of the flags and ensigns for each Commonwealth regiment, traditional African commemorative war music and dance, presentations, and speeches, as well as a public medal ceremony for Second World War veterans and retired nurses.

While last year’s event was scaled down significantly because of lockdown restrictions, this year’s is open to the general public, who will be able to lay wreaths.

The earlier march-past and parade, organised by Lambeth council with the Clapham-based West Indian Association of Service Personnel, will “commemorate and educate the public of the contribution made to world peace by West Indian and Commonwealth”.

Other local acts of remembrance will include a ceremony at Lambeth town hall opposite Windrush Square. Wreaths will be laid at the Staff Officers’ Plaque, the Lambeth Officers’ Guild Plaque and the Violette Szabo GC Memorial Plaque.

Szabo, a member of the wartime Special Operations Executive, was executed aged 23 in a German concentration camp in 1945. She was a local resident who went to school in Brixton and worked in the Bon Marché department store. Her former home in Burnley Road, Stockwell, is marked with a Blue Plaque. 

Other local events and services include

Stockwell Memorial Gardens, 10.30 am to 1 pm

Kennington Park, with Southwark British Legion, 10.30 am to 1 pm.

Vincennes Estate war memorial, SE27 9RR, 3 to 4.30 pm

Christ Church, Gipsy Hill, SE19 1DP, Remembrance Sunday Service, 11am to 12pm.

St Luke’s Church Garden, West Norwood, 2.30 pm

Streatham Memorial Gardens 10.30am to 1pm.

Special Operations Executive Monument – Albert Embankment 10:30 am 11:30 am

This bust of Violette Szabo, sculpted by Karen Newman, on the SEO memorial at the Albert Embankment, London, commemorates SEO operatives in the Second World War. Image Irid Escent/Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this year, on Armed Forces Day (25 June), Lambeth council confirmed its commitment to renew the borough’s Armed Forces Covenant.

This is a pledge to protect those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, ensuring that they receive the highest level of help, advice and service.

Later this month the council is due to begin sending invitations to local organisations and military units to partner with it to assess current service provision for serving personnel and veterans and their families and dependents. 

Cllr Sonia Winifred, cabinet member for equalities and culture, said: “Remembrance Sunday has always a hugely important event in Lambeth, as it gives us the opportunity to pay our respects to the men and women from all backgrounds and all parts of the world who gave their lives so we could be free.

“I’m glad that, after Covid disrupted our acts of remembrance last year, this year people from all over Lambeth will have the chance to come out and pay a fitting tribute to those who have died in conflict.”