British merchant navy flag, with poppy – Ruby Princess flew the Red Duster.
We anchored off the island of Lifou (New Caledonia) at 9.00 am on the 11th November, and many of us went ashore via tender.
Maureen & I and our friends were walking to a lookout point when we heard the sound of a trumpet, and turned to see the ship – it was 11.00 am so we stopped and faced the ship, as did a number of other passengers from the Ruby Princess.
We were a small group of strangers (other than our two friends) that had suddenly come together in a common desire, and so focused on the ship.
The group of about ten strangers didn’t move until the sound of the ‘clear’ at the end of the minute’s silence, all of us locked in our own thoughts of those who sacrificed their ‘today’ for our ‘today’.
The ship, as we saw her through the vegetation.
We returned to the ship at lunchtime because we wanted to take part in the planned memorial service in the afternoon.
The service was held at 4.00 pm in the theatre to commemorate all those who gave their lives for our freedom,
Captain Steven Lewis of the Ruby Princess officiated.
The Captain said a few words as he opened the ceremony.
The service sheet had four pages and on the second page was a poem, I do not know your name’, by Sherrie Ball and it was read by the cruise director.
The poem is on the left after which we all sang ‘O God Our Help in Ages Past’, the theatre was not full, but the service was very well attended, so I felt comfortable belting out the hymns without feeling embarrassed, because I do not have a singing voice.
The assistant cruise director read Heroes by Jared Jenkins – this was followed by another hymn, ‘Holy Holy Holy.’
Mathew Murtagh sang Bring him home – I couldn’t find Mathew Murtagh singing this song, but I found a clip with the same feeling.
This was followed by the Captain reading ‘In Memoriam’, followed by ‘In Flanders Field’, and then we all sang Amazing Grace.
The short time together ended with the 23rd Psalm, The Lords Prayer and the Responsive Reading,
The Act of Remembrance was read by Captain Lewis, which was followed by the trumpeter from the ship’s band playing The Last Post , and finally, after the minute’s silence, Reveille.
Quite a few people displayed their medals, which added to the ambiance of the ceremony.
I thought that it was a touching ceremony and a credit to all the staff of the Ruby Princess.
Tower of London’s former old moat filled with thousands of poppies on
Remembrance Day 2019.