Time waits for no man as Hampstead vicar ‘late’ for Remembrance service
10:19 21 November 2011
As the clocks rang out to mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, people across the country paused to remember those who lost their lives at war.
But time slipped away from one Hampstead vicar who reportedly arrived late to the Remembrance Day memorial service he was holding.
Reverend Paul Conrad, of Christ Church in Hampstead Square, was scheduled to lead services at Whitestone Pond War Memorial, where the Mayor of Camden was among the assembled guests laying wreaths to mark Armistice Day last Friday (November 11).
But guests were left puzzled when the reverend reportedly failed to turn up in time to lead the two minutes silence at 11am, which was instead held a few minutes later.
Jim Dickson, secretary of the Royal British Legion in Highgate and Muswell Hill, said guests should have held the two minutes silence without the reverend if he was running late.
He said: “That 11th hour on the 11th day on the 11th month has a specific meaning. It is written in stone.
“That is when people have their two minutes silence no matter where they are. On that day you would have made sure you had got there on time.”
But Revd Conrad insisted he arrived on time to hold the service at 11am – the moment 93-years-ago when an armistice was called ending the First World War.
He said: “I had my mobile phone in front of me and I knew the time from that. By my time, it was on time.
“I turned up before 11am and talked to the mayor and the teachers and other people who were laying wreaths. It was very well organised and a very dignified occasion.”
Hampstead Town Cllr Linda Chung (Lib Dem), who was at the service, said it was “slightly delayed”.
But she added that its significance lay in the “common bond of shared contemplation” not its timing.
She said: “It would have been nice to have been starting earlier, by 11am, but it was just slightly delayed.
“There weren’t any concerns he would miss it altogether. Some people just thought time was a bit tight.
“The real significance is about the gathering of people to contemplate the people who died for us in the name of freedom.
“That is more important than the time.”