Invictus Games to hold drumhead service on 11 September

The Invictus Games, presented by Jaguar Land Rover, will hold a drumhead service on 11 September, the first day of competition at the international sports event for ‘wounded warriors’, to remember those who have died or been injured in conflict.

The service will take place at London’s Lee Valley Athletics Centre which hosts the track and field events that afternoon. It comes in the centenary year of the start of World War One and will commemorate all those who died and were injured in that war and all subsequent conflicts. The service is also held on the anniversary of what has come to be known as ‘9/11’, the terrorist attacks in the USA in 2001.

The origins of the Drumhead Service date back hundreds of years to when regimental drums were used to communicate orders on the battlefield. Soldiers would make a pile of drums to provide a makeshift altar, often draped with the standards or colours of the regiment, so a religious service could be held on the field of battle.

The short service will be conducted by the senior chaplains from The Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force. It will begin at 13:00 when the buglers of the band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, HMS Collingwood will build the ‘Drumhead’ as the choir from the Royal Hospital School, Holbrook lead the opening hymn.

The Drumhead Service has been chosen as a fitting moment of reflection for all to remember those who died as well as the injured Servicemen and women taking part in the Invictus Games. Those in attendance will represent 13 nations that have served alongside each other in recent conflicts and now face one another in the sporting arena. Spectators with tickets to watch the athletics are asked to arrive early and attend to experience this important facet of military life and show their wider support for the Servicemen and women taking part.

Sir Keith Mills, Chairman of the Invictus Games, says: “Ahead of the Invictus Games which will celebrate the strength in adversity of our wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women, it is appropriate to pause for reflection and remember those who have died or been injured. This is a timely opportunity for competitors and spectators alike to show their support and gratitude for all those who gave, and give, so much.”

The Invictus Games are being organised with the support and backing of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and the Ministry of Defence. More than 400 wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women, serving and veteran, will compete in nine adaptive sports. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the Lee Valley Athletics Centre will host the events thanks to the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, the London Legacy Development Corporation, the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, DCMS and Sport England.

Ahead of the Invictus Games which will celebrate the strength in adversity of our wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women, it is appropriate to pause for reflection and remember those who have died or been injured. This is a timely opportunity for competitors and spectators alike to show their support and gratitude for all those who gave, and give, so much

Sir Keith Mills, Chairman of the Invictus Games

Teams were invited from 14 nations that have served alongside each other. Iraq was among those invited to take part but has announced it will not be putting forward a team of competitors. Iraq supports the event by sending a delegation of observers and hopes to be able to take part in future Invictus Games.

Invictus is Latin for unconquered, a word that embodies the fighting spirit of wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women. The Invictus Games are a unique chance for the public to celebrate this ‘invictus spirit’ through sporting achievement at venues made famous by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Tickets cost £12.85 at www.invictusgames.org

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