London, Nov 8 (IANS) The iconic Big Ben’s Great Clock chimed on Sunday during the UK’s national tribute to those killed in the two World Wars and other conflicts.
Engineers at the Houses of Parliament spent days preparing the bell to chime 11 times on Sunday at the start of a traditional two-minute silence around the Cenotaph war memorial in Whitehall, Xinhua news agency quoted a Parliament spokesman as saying.
The bells have been mostly silent since the extensive repair and refurbishment work on the Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben and the famous clock faces, began in 2017.
The Elizabeth Tower is often mistakenly called Big Ben, but that latter name only refers to the bell that occupies part of it.
It only gained its current name, having previously been called the Clock Tower, when it was renamed in honour of the Queen to mark her diamond jubilee in 2012.
However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation and self-distancing rules in the country, the public has been urged not to attend this year’s remembrance event, said the Royal British Legion.
“We recognise this will be deeply disappointing for all who were due to take part and it is not a step that has been taken lightly.
“This decision has been taken by the government based on expert advice to protect the health and well-being of those who would have been travelling to and participating in the event,” it said.
The government-led remembrance service at the Cenotaph will go ahead as a closed ceremony and will be broadcast live as representatives of the Royal Family, the government and the armed forces lay wreaths.