It was an image of the student protests that angered many: a young man swinging from a flag on the Cenotaph, a memorial commemorating Britain’s war dead.

Today, the apologetic son of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour has issued a statement saying how much he regrets the action and confessing that he didn’t know what the Cenotaph was.

Charlie Gilmour said that he felt “nothing but shame” and that he was deeply sorry for “the terrible insult to the thousands of people who died bravely for our country”.

The son of Pink Floyd’s guitarist went on to say that he hadn’t realised the symbolism of the monument.

“Those who are commemorated by the Cenotaph died to protect the very freedoms that allow the people of Britain the right to protest and I feel deeply ashamed to have, although unintentionally and unknowingly, insulted the memory of them,” said Charlie.

Gilmour was part of mass demonstrations in London yesterday as students took to the streets marching against rises in tuition fees. Protests turned violent and police used heavy-handed measures to control the crowd.

Universities will now be allowed to charge fees of up to £9,000 a year, making further education too expensive for many.