Coffin of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey, 1920
This photograph shows the coffin of the unknown warrior, resting in Westminster Abbey before burial. The idea of the Grave of the Unknown Warrior was to commemorate all the dead who had fallen in the First World War. No one knows the identity of the soldier in the coffin. On the 7th November 1920, several bodies were exhumed from different battle sites such as the Somme, Ypres and Cambai. The bodies were laid out covered with Union Flags and Brigadier General L. J. Wyatt picked one body at random at midnight. The body was then placed in a coffin and shipped back to England in great ceremony, whilst the other bodies were carefully reburied.
The body was taken in a gun carriage drawn by six black horses, to Westminster Abbey on 11th November. On the way to the Abbey, the soldier stopped at the unveiling of the Cenotaph at Whitehall and so was present during the ceremony. The soldier was buried with soil samples of various battlefields and George V placed some French soil onto the coffin at the end of the ceremony. The ceremony was carried on simultaneously with the burial of another unknown soldier in France at the Arc de Triomphe. The unknown soldier remains a strong symbol of all war dead to this day, and is the only tomb in Westminster Abbey that people are not allowed to walk across.
Such a hauntingly beautiful photograph.