Avatar photo

Keith Allan

British High Commissioner to Mauritius

7th January 2019 Port Louis, Mauritius

Armistice 100 – Remembrance Day in Mauritius

It’s been quite some time since my last blog. Twitter seems to have taken over! Remembrance Day and that important opportunity to honour and remember those who gave so much seemed like a very good occasion to get started again.

Honouring those who served in the Arctic Convoys of the Second World War was a top priority during my four years in Russia prior to Mauritius. Memories of hosting those incredible veterans of the convoys was special and will stay with me forever. Not only memories came with me to Mauritius. A Royal Navy Ensign flag, which was brought back from the convoys by one of the brave veterans, now hangs proudly on my wall.

Our Remembrance Day 2018 in Mauritius began with an early morning ceremony at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) memorial and military section of Phoenix Cemetery. A team from the CWGC had recently visited to undertake essential maintenance work and had done an excellent job. We organised a ceremony, which included the Acting President of Mauritius, the Bishop of Mauritius, veterans, other diplomats, bag pipers and buglers from the Special Mobile Force, and many British, Mauritian and foreign residents and tourists. After a ceremony at the memorial, which included the pipers and buglers, we walked to the military section accompanied by the pipers and laid flowers on the graves. There were quite a few tears as the pipers played Flowers of the Forest and Amazing Grace.

I then took part in the Remembrance Day church service at St Clement’s Anglican Church. I was invited by the Bishop to deliver a reading. Both the President and Prime Minister attended. We then moved to the War Memorial in Curepipe, which has been used as a national monument of Remembrance since 1922. A wreath-laying ceremony followed the one minute silence at 11.00. Participants were presented with copies of a new commemorative book. ‘Forget Me Not – a tribute to the fallen’. I was pleased to provide a message for the book along with the Prime Minister and Bishop.

Finally, I hosted a lunch at Westminster House for those who had taken part in the morning events, including the President. I presented the President with a copy of the excellent new ‘Guide to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’. At 12.30, the President joined me by ringing a bell as other bells were rung throughout the country. One hundred years ago as the guns finally fell silent the bells rung out in hope of lasting peace.

This was a very fitting end to a very special, honourable, dignified and moving Armistice 100 Remembrance Day. Honouring and remembering those who served will continue. We are assisting the local authorities and Mauritius Ex-Services Trust Fund with the development of a new museum to the First and Second World Wars. This will be a long overdue way of commemorating the service and sacrifice of thousands of Mauritians. We will remember them.

3 comments on “Armistice 100 – Remembrance Day in Mauritius

  1. Hi Keith, a good read thanks. I’ve just spent 5 weeks in Mauritius and visited the CWGC at Phoenix, as I always do when I visit the country ( my Mauritian in-laws live a 10 min walk away ). It looks much better now it’s been tidied up. Can you advise me where the new museum will be please?
    Many thanks.

    1. Good morning Matt and thank you for reading. The CWGC have indeed done some really good work. The new museum will be in the Natural History Museum in Port Louis. It is currently under renovation and should be reopened at some point this year.

Comments are closed.

About Keith Allan

I have been British High Commissioner in Mauritius since August 2017. I was previously HM Consul General in St Petersburg, Russia, and used this blog to share my thoughts on…

I have been British High Commissioner in Mauritius since August 2017. I was previously HM Consul General in St Petersburg, Russia, and used this blog to share my thoughts on shared history and visits to cities and regions throughout Russia. In Mauritius, I will look to highlight some of the cultural and historical relations between the UK and Mauritius. Prior to St Petersburg, I was HM Ambassador to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, and also had another posting to Central Asia (Tashkent) in the late 90s. I was also HM Consul General in Miami and have worked in Trinidad & Tobago and Botswana, so Mauritius is not my first posting on an island or in Africa. I was born in Glasgow and am married with three children who thankfully also love to travel. You can also follow my activities on Twitter @HCKeithAllan