Theresa May has reminded the British public that Remembrance Sunday should honour all those who have served Great Britain in conflict, not just during the First and Second World Wars, which it is most commonly associated with.

Remembrance Sunday falls on the Sunday closest to Armistice Day, November 11, the day on which the armistice was signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany marking the end of the First World War.

Ahead of the national commemoration service at the Cenotaph on Whitehall, the prime minister said people around the country should honour those fighting the Islamic State (Isis) in Syria and Iraq as well as in others who had risked their lives for the country.

She said: "The way of life we enjoy today depends upon the service offered by members of the armed forces and their families.

"Across generations and in every corner of the UK, today we remember those who gave so much for our values, our democracy and our nation.

"At this time of reflection, we must not forget those members of the armed forces who are currently away from loved ones, whether taking the fight to Daesh, assisting UN peacekeeping efforts in Africa or fighting piracy on the high seas.

"As we are united in remembrance of those who have made sacrifices for our freedom, so we are united in our gratitude to those who continue to keep us safe."

Though many associate Remembrance Day and poppies worn in commemoration with the First and Second World Wars, the purpose of the memorial has always been to remember all those who have served in the military.

The UK government's website says the National Service of Remembrance is held to "commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts".

According to figures released this year, 179 British servicemen had died in the Iraq conflict since 2003. As of July last year, 454 British forces personnel or civilians working for the Ministry of Defence had died serving in Afghanistan since October 2001.

Field of Remembrance
Poppies and crosses at the Fields of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey Tristan Fewings/ Getty Images