DCMS blog

Remembrance makes me feel connected to those who gave their lives

Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Roberts, the lead musician on Remembrance Sunday, talks about its significance for the nation.


It is almost time for our nation to once again gather at the Cenotaph and pay tribute to those who gave their lives in conflict, writes Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Roberts, the Senior Director of Music for the Household Division.

As the Senior Director of Music for the Household Division, my job is to lead the music of the military bands at the Cenotaph.

It’s a hugely challenging but greatly rewarding role, especially on Remembrance Sunday, and one I have held for the last six months.

Pictured: The performance is brought to a close with the national anthem. HRH The Duchess of Cornwall has joined the present Duke of Wellingtion for a Waterloo themed military musical spectacular on Horse Guards Parade. 200 years after Field Marshal Blucher of Prussia and the first Duke of Wellington led the allied armies to victory on the field of Waterloo, re-enactors in period costume, horses, guns, cannon and five hundred military musicians performed the highlights of Europe's most important battle to music and fireworks. The Waterloo 200 themed open air Beating Retreat wowed the audience of 6,500 spectators on Horse Guards Parade and hundreds more watching from St Jame's Park. The concert included dramatic music and dance re-enactments of the historic Duchess of Richmond's Ball in Brussels where the first Duke of Wellington assembled his officers prior to the Battle, and the Battle of Waterloo itself using deafening cannon and fireworks. The Duchess of Cornwall watched from the Royal Pavilion and took the salute on this the sec ond and final night of the Household Division's Beating Retreat. NOTE TO DESKS: MoD release authorised handout images. All images remain Crown Copyright. Photo credit to read - Corporal Daniel Wiepen Email: danwiepen@mediaops.army.mod.uk richardwatt@mediaops.army.mod.uk shanewilkinson@mediaops.army.mod.uk Daniel Wiepen - 07880 052437 Richard Watt - 07836 515306 Shane Wilkinson - 07901 590723

Pictured: The performance is brought to a close with the national anthem.
Photo credit: Corporal Daniel Wiepen, Crown Copyright.

For me, it will be special because it is an immense honour to be able to lead the music for the Cenotaph Remembrance service and to play as many thousands of veterans march past. It is my first time taking up this role for the Remembrance service and I am honoured to be able to do so.

To see the monarch, representatives of State, the Armed Forces and members of the public come together to pay their respects as one is incredibly moving.

It also has a special significance for me because my father served in the Royal Air Force, my grandfather served in the Army in the Second World War and other members of his family served in the forces in the First World War. Many of them came back badly injured.

When I stand out there on Remembrance Sunday, I can’t help but feel very connected to them in some way. I am sure I am not the only one who finds it an opportunity to identify with loved ones or ancestors who sacrificed so much for us to be here today.

What is also moving is the determination of some veterans to make it to the service. You can tell some people have attended regardless of their state of health. To them there is no question – they have to be on parade.

Remembrance has a huge significance for the nation and people should respect that and pay attention to that because it is something we should always recognise.


Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Roberts is the Senior Director of Music for the Household Division in London. He has been in the post for six months and led music for the Queen’s Birthday Parade and the Chinese State Visit.




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