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Bishop James to lead major Remembrance services

The Bishop of Carlisle – the National Chaplain of the Royal British Legion - is to lead two major services of Remembrance in the coming days.

The Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev'd James NewcomeThe Rt Rev’d James Newcome will officiate at the Service of Remembrance at the Royal British Legion’s Festival of Remembrance on Saturday at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Two services will be held on the day - at 2pm and 7pm - as the RBL hosts the annual event which commemorates all those who have lost their lives in conflicts. The services will also be broadcast that evening on BBC One and BBC Radio Two.

Bishop James said: “It’s a huge privilege to be a part of this service through my role with the Royal British Legion.

“I think because of my own military antecedents - which include my service as a Territorial Army soldier and my grandfathers, my father, my brother and my wife’s father having all served in the army - I feel very much at home with what will take place at the Festival . I am very glad to be able to be a part of this.

“It’s very important to have these times of Remembrance. Without some knowledge of our history, it’s very difficult to make decisions about the future in the present.

“A big part of our history involves conflict of various kinds during which so many people made such an extraordinary sacrifice, giving up their lives in order to fight for the ideals that we continue to hold dear today.”

The Festival line-up will also include performances from special guest artists Michael Ball and Alfie Boe, while Alexander Armstrong will perform with the Royal Air Force Squadronaires.

It will also mark the anniversaries of the centenaries of the Battle of the Somme and the Battle of Jutland, the 25th anniversary of the Gulf War and the 80th anniversary of the first flight of the Supermarine Spitfire.

Meanwhile on Friday 18 November, Bishop James has been invited as RBL National Chaplain to lead a special Service of Remembrance at the Thiepval War Memorial in France.

That service will mark the 100th anniversary of the ending of the Battle of the Somme after what had been 141 days’ fighting. The Memorial – completed in 1932 – commemorates more than 72,205 British Empire soldiers who were declared missing on the Somme between July 1915 and March 1918.

The Thiepval Memorial Service of Remembrance will include the creation of a drumhead altar, the Last Post and two minutes’ silence.

Bishop James said: “So many people were killed or injured in the Battle of the Somme that most families in this country have relatives, or know of someone, who was caught up in it.

“The slaughter was so appalling that remembering what took place should be a real incentive to all of us – particularly politicians – to work as hard as we can for peace to try to ensure we don’t fight that kind of war ever again.”

Last week Bishop James, who also sits in the House of Lords as the Church of England’s lead bishop on healthcare - was also among 80 other MPs and Peers who took part in the Industry and Parliament Trust’s Static Bike Ride.



For further information contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07469 153658, 01768 807764 or at

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