Thousands gathered across the district today to mark the sacrifices of men and women who gave their lives defending freedom, justice and peace.

In Bradford, as the City Hall clock struck eleven, heads were bowed in sombre silence.

White-haired veterans, men and women with medals pinned proudly to their chests, joined VIPs and civilians at the cenotaph.

Each one with his own personal memories of war, they observed a two-minute silence and a pledge by Royal British Legion (RBL) member Geoff Gill to remember all those servicemen and women killed in conflicts past and present.

The service was led by Canon Denise Poole, the Lord Mayor’s Chaplain, and Councillor the Reverend Paul Flowers, chaplain to the city’s branch of the RBL.

It was attended by civic dignitaries including the Queen’s representative, the Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Council leader Kris Hopkins and Bradford South MP Gerry Sutcliffe.

In front of thousands of people who had come to pay their respects, Canon Poole prayed for freedom, justice and peace.

“We pray for all who in bereavement, disability and pain continue to suffer the consequences of fighting and terror,” she said. “We remember with thanksgiving and sorrow those whose lives have been given and taken away in two world wars and in conflicts past and present.”

The service followed a parade, led by standard-bearers from veterans’ groups, forces’ cadets and Scouts, which snaked through the city streets.

Members of the 269 (West Riding) Battery inherited the Freedom of the City of Bradford, were also part of the parade from Centenary Square to the city’s war memorial.

There, the city’s spiritual and political leaders laid wreaths of commemorative poppies at the foot of the monument bearing the epitaph: “In proud and grateful remembrance.”

Representatives from Bradford’s Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist communities each lead prayers for current service personnel and their families, as well as those making decisions a about war, peace and justice.

Prayers were also said for people involved in conflict resolution and peace-making in armed conflict across the globe.

The leaders of each of the political parties on Bradford Council also came to pay their respects, laying wreaths on behalf of their constituents.

Following the ceremony, Bradford’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Howard Middleton, said: “Today has allowed people time to pause for thought about the tremendous sacrifices that the servicemen and women from this district have made so that we can live in peace and enjoy the way of life that we enjoy today.”

The service was one of many events across Bradford district to honour the victims of war, made all the more poignant because they marked the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I. They had come to honour a promise to always remember the fallen.

Veteran Bill Lee, 70, of Reevy Road, Wibsey, said: “We promised the people that we would not forget them or the sacrifice they made by giving their lives for this country. It was a pledge that we made and we will always keep it.”

Jozef Wojciechowski, 86, had another important milestone to remember at the commemorations.

A former soldier in the Polish army who moved to Bradford after the war, he was also celebrating 90 years of his homeland’s independence. Born just four years after Poland became a country in its own right, the grandfather-of-two was deported to freezing Siberia by the Russians, but joined the Polish army in 1942, aged just 20.

Now the president of the Bradford branch of the British Paras Association, he laid a wreath at the cenotaph on behalf of the association at the remembrance service. Mr Wojciechowski from Allerton, said: “I am an old soldier who fought in the war, so for me, this is a huge event.

“As well as the end of World War I, November 11 also marks Polish independence. That makes it even more important.”

Jim Hargreaves MBE, is the 87-year-old president of the Bradford branch of the RBL.

He was with about 30 veterans and members of the legion at the commemoration in Bradford.

Mr Hargreaves said: “This shows the continuity of our duty of care for the ex-servicemen, women and their dependants. We are diminishing, my generation, and the octogenarians are fading fast. We have fewer and fewer standards because we can’t get the old men to carry them now, but people still want to remember.”

In London, the Queen led the nation at the Remembrance Sunday ceremony. The monarch joined senior royals, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other political leaders in laying wreaths at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.