Lest We Forget - The annual Remembrance Sunday ceremony will take place this Sunday, at 10.55 am.
Location: the Commonwealth War Cemetery, Solymár
Photo: British Commonwealth and fellow ambassadors at the Solymár Remembrance service in, I'm fairly sure, November, 1992.
Unfortunately, I can't remember, nor did I know, all the names of the diplomats and attachés pictured. In the front row, third from the left (as we look at the picture), British ambassador John Birch (later Sir John, now deceased) is leading the ceremony. To his right is the then French ambassador.
Whether the order of the next three is significant, I can't tell, but I think it is rather touching that the newly appointed ambassador of South Africa, Cornelius van Niekerk Scholtz, is flanked by his colleague from Pakistan on the left and that of India to his right.
South Africa had only recently emerged from the apartheid regime and exchanged ambassadors with Hungary for the first time, though HE Scholtz had been in Hungary representing South Africa for a year or two in a representative office.
He told me in a radio interview in 1991 that his first visit to Hungary had coincided with the (in)famous taxi drivers' blocade in October, 1990. With road transport at a near standstill,
because he had a retun flight to S Africa from Vienna, he had to be flown out of Budapest to Austria in a Hungarian army helicopter. Ths landed on Heroes' Square in order to pick him up.
Sadly, the South African embassy in Hungary has informed me that HE Scholtz passed away a few years ago.
Photo: A side view of the 1992 Ceremony. This depicts more clearly, as I remember,
two British attachés (air and army) and their French counterpart in the second row.
Although the Hungarian language Wikipedia page headlines Solymár as the “British” Military Cemetery, in fact it hosts the graves of not just Commonwealth, but of other allied victims of the conflict, including French and particularly, Polish airmen.
These brave men volunteered to fly supplies to their compatriots fighting against the overwhelmingly better equipped Nazi German forces in the Warsaw Uprising of August, 1944. Refused permission in (by then) Soviet liberated/occupied Poland, just a few miles to the east, many of these aircraft could not make it back to their bases in Italy, crashing in Hungary as a result of enemy damage and lack of fuel.
For details of the cemetery, see: https://www.cwgc.org/visit-us/find-cemeteries-memorials/cemetery-details/54325/budapest-war-cemetery/
Whilst this ceremony particularly remembers the sacrifice of British Commonwealth servicemen and servicewomen lost in conflict, the ceremony is open to citizens of all nations, many of whom do not have a war grave cemetery for their own countrymen and women who died in Hungary.
This ceremony does not glorify war: it is about thanksgiving and remembrance.
Bristh Embassy: INVITATION TO THE ANNUAL REMEMBRANCE CEREMONY SUNDAY, 13 NOVEMBER 2022, SOLYMÁR
The traditional service and wreath-laying ceremony will take place at the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Solymár at 10:55.
Everybody is welcome to attend this ecumenical service. Those who do so are kindly requested to arrive at the cemetery no later than 10:45. The service lasts approximately 20 minutes.
The Commonwealth War Cemetery is situated 16 kilometres north-west of Budapest on the road to Dorog and Esztergom. Take Route 10 from the city centre and keep going until you reach Auchan Hypermarket. At the roundabout take the first exit for Dorog and continue for about 500 meters. An alternative approach is to leave Budapest via Hűvösvölgyi út and Hidegkúti út and then follow the signs for Route 10 through Solymár village.