British Actors Read War Poetry For Remembrance Day

While we call November 11 Veterans Day here in the United States, it’s referred to as Remembrance Day in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries, and some folks still like to call it Armistice Day, or even Poppy Day, depending on who you talk to. Nevertheless, the sentiment is all the same – November 11 is a date when we all take a moment to reflect and to say a heartfelt thank you to all the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve in the armed forces around the world, whatever country they may hail from.

Remembrance Day is observed on the 11th of November to recall the official end of World War I; hostilities formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” when Germany signed the Armistice Agreement.

There are many traditions surrounding Remembrance Day in the UK – the general population wears poppies as part of the Royal British Legion’s annual fundraising appeal, a moment of silence is observed, the Queen and other members of the monarchy and government place wreaths at the Cenotaph in memory of fallen soldiers, and many other events around the country at various war memorials and elsewhere.

This is the second year running that More 4, a digital channel run by UK broadcaster Channel 4, has marked Remembrance Weekend with special programming focused on the war and war poetry. The channel created a series of special interstitials featuring several notable British actors reading poems about the war, including Sean Bean, Christopher Eccleston, Gemma Aerterton, Sophie Okonedo, Noel Clarke and more. Poets featured include Seamus Heaney, Wilfred Own, Siegfried Sasson, Rupert Brooke and others. 

Here is sampling of some of them, from both the 2012 and 2013 sets:

Eccleston reads Heaney’s Testimony:  

Testimony by Seamus Heaney: Read by Christoffer Ecclestone | Remembering World War 1 | More 4

Clarke reads Keith Douglas’ How to Kill: 

How To Kill by Keith Douglas: Read by Noel Clarke | Remembering World War 1 | More 4

Bean performs Owen’s Anthem for Doomed Youth

Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen: Read by Sean Bean | Remembering World War 1 | More 4

You can see the rest of the performances – there are several more and they’re all very well done - at the More 4 YouTube channel