Westminster Column - Armistice Day

9th November 2018

Remembrance Sunday always provides a poignant reminder to us all of the commitment and sacrifice of our forebears in their service in defence of our country in previous conflicts.

This week has special significance coming as it does on commemoration of the centenary of Armistice Day, the end of World War One on 11th November 1918.

Every community across the country and further afield across the Commonwealth, have memorials honouring the fallen, those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The numbers alone paint a very graphic picture to our generations who did not live through the horrors of the trenches. Of the 956,700 British and Commonwealth servicemen and women who died during World War One, 251,900 were from Commonwealth countries and 704,803 from the British Isles, among whom 5,286 were from Shropshire. On one day alone, 14th July 2016, 172 men of the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry died at Bazentin Ridge.

Many communities in Shropshire have found their own way to remember those who died and were affected by war. Services and parades will be held across our towns and villages this Sunday.

This year, in honour of the centenary of the Armistice marking the end of the Great War, ‘Battles Over’ beacons will be lit across the country, at 7pm on Sunday evening. I shall be at Gallows Bank in Ludlow helping read names of the fallen from our town.

The Royal British Legion, of which I am a proud member, do magnificent work in supporting those who have served and their families in need. They organise much of the commemoration activities and use the annual Poppy collection to raise vital funds to which so many of us contribute by wearing the poppy symbolising the fields of Flanders.

The Legion’s parade of veterans after the Cenotaph service in London will this year be followed by 10,000 members of the public, including relatives of the deceased. At half past twelve, bells will ring out across the country, as they did 100 years ago, reflecting the relief that war had ended.

In this centenary of the Great War, I hope there will be a strong show of respect to those who served in our Armed Forces with a good turnout to Remembrance events over coming days.

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