Armistice Day saw tribute to the nation’s war dead paid across the UK today.

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage penned a poem to mark the 100th anniversary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior.

The Bed was read during the Armistice Day service at Westminster Abbey on Wednesday.

The poem charts how the fallen soldier is transported from being “broken and sleeping rough in a dirt grave” to being buried “among drowsing poets and dozing saints” in Westminster Abbey.

King George V paying his tribute to the Unknown Warrior King George V places a wreath on the coffin of the Unknown Warrior ahead of the burial on November 11, 1920

Meanwhile, in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon paid tribute to the nation’s war dead and said the sacrifice of those who “helped to secure the freedoms we enjoy today” must never be forgotten.

She added it “reminds all of us of the devastating cost of war”.

The First Minister said: “On the 11th of November 1918 the guns fell silent and the First World War came to an end.

“Every year, on Remembrance Day, we commemorate that event. We remember those who died in that war and in subsequent conflicts.

“And in doing so we pay tribute to the continuing service and sacrifice of our Armed Forces community.”

She added: “Ordinarily, of course, this occasion would be marked through commemoration events across the country.

“They provide an opportunity for people to come together, to reflect and to pay their respects.

“Sadly, because of Covid, these events will have to be very different this year and our national services of remembrance, unfortunately, will not be open to the public.

“However, I know that people across Scotland will still be taking the time to mark this Remembrance Day.”

Ms Sturgeon observed the two-minute silence at St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh alongside service personnel from the Navy, Army and RAF.

She remembered all those “from Scotland, the UK, the Commonwealth, and around the world who paid the ultimate price”.

The First Minister said: “Their sacrifice must never be forgotten. It reminds all of us of the devastating cost of war.

“Their sacrifice helped to secure the freedoms we enjoy today.

“And it should inspire all of us now to do everything we can to build a better, safer, more peaceful world.”

Read the poem by Simon Armitage:

The Bed

Sharp winds scissor and scythe those plains.

And because you are broken and sleeping rough

in a dirt grave, we exchange the crude wooden cross

for the hilt and blade of a proven sword;

to hack through the knotted dark of the next world,

yes, but to lean on as well at a stile or gate

looking out over fens or wealds or fells or wolds.

That sword, drawn from a king’s sheath,

fits a commoner’s hand, and is yours to keep.

And because frost plucks at the threads

of your nerves, and your bones stew in the rain,

bedclothes of zinc and oak are trimmed

and tailored to fit. Sandbags are drafted in,

for bolstering limbs and pillowing dreams,

and we throw in a fistful of battlefield soil:

an inch of the earth, your share of the spoils.

The heavy sheet of stone is Belgian marble

buffed to a high black gloss, the blanket

a flag that served as an altar cloth. Darkness

files past, through until morning, its head bowed.

Molten bullets embroider incised words.

Among drowsing poets and dozing saints

the tall white candles are vigilant sentries

presenting arms with stiff yellow flames;

so nobody treads on the counterpane,

but tiptoeing royal brides in satin slippers

will dress and crown you with luminous flowers.

All this for a soul

without name or rank or age or home, because you

are the son we lost, and your rest is ours.