Posts Tagged ‘country’

Respect those who fight for their country – and for our freedom

November 9th, 2014

Fittingly, the online canadian pharmacy last of 888,246 poppies to complete the display will be planted on Armistice Day. That final poppy recalls the life of Pte George Edwin Ellison of the 5th Royal Irish Lancers. He was one of the first to be involved in the fighting at the outbreak of war, having participated in one of the British Expeditionary Force’s earliest campaigns at Mons, in 1914. He survived being gassed and the harrowing experience of the Somme, and is believed to have been the last British soldier to fall.

It is to the soldiers of the trenches, such as Pte Ellison, that our thoughts will inevitably turn today on Remembrance Sunday. Yet we must not forget that the attritional battle in the trenches was just part of a vast war effort by men and women, Service and civilian, from across the globe. It was a war fought over a sprawling canvas, both on land and at sea, defeating the U-boat blockade and winning the battle of the Atlantic.

But the poppies at the Tower don’t just remind us of the sacrifice of the soldiers, sailors and airmen of the First World War, but also of those who followed them in later conflicts – those who stepped on to the beaches of Normandy 30 years later, those who fought in Korea, and those who, more recently, have fought in the heat of Iraq and on the dusty plains of Helmand.

Particularly this year, as we conclude our combat operations in Afghanistan, we remember those who have died and who have suffered life-changing injuries. And we particularly think of their families.

Yet, at the same time as we remember their sacrifice, we should also remember their service. The thousands of personnel who served in Afghanistan from all three Services have achieved an enormous amount. Through their efforts, they have made that country more secure and ensured that millions more Afghans can receive an education and experience a better quality of life. They have put that country on a road to recovery.

Above all, they have succeeded in our principal strategic purpose: stopping terrorists from using Afghanistan to mount attacks on British people on British streets.

And already, our forces have turned their service to new threats – policing Baltic airspace to deter Russian aggression; targeting the Isil menace in Iraq; helping to combat the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

Reflecting on the service of our Armed Forces over the years has another powerful effect. By recalling their fortitude, we come to a greater appreciation of what service itself means.

We appreciate that those soldiers, sailors and airmen were not just fighting for their country, they were fighting for our freedom and our future. It is service that connects all our Armed Forces past, present and future.

So today, as we come together as a nation, either standing at the Cenotaph or conducting acts of remembrance, let there be pride for the service, as well as sorrow for the sacrifice.

We will remember the fallen not just with sadness, but also with eternal respect and gratitude, in the knowledge that we are living the future they fought for.


World War Two

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One in five Britons thinks the country fought Hitler in World War I

June 27th, 2014

More than half (57%) knew that Britain became involved in the First World War because of a treaty with Belgium to defend it in the event of an invasion.

Knowledge of the country’s leadership was sketchy, with one in ten believing Winston Churchill was Prime Minister at the start of the conflict.

Only 36% correctly answered that the prime minister was Herbert Henry Asquith, while 34% guessed it was David Lloyd George, whose premiership started during the war.

Areas in which respondents were most knowledgeable were when the First World War took place (90%), what the term The Allies refers to (92%), and the fact that British and German soldiers once marked Christmas Day by playing a game of football (85%).

However, 1% of those polled believed the troops gave each other tours of their trenches, while eight people surveyed believed they gathered to watch a screening of the Great Escape.

People in the East Midlands are the most knowledgeable about the war, according to the research, getting an overall 70% of correct answers. Londoners were found to know the least, with only 63% of right responses.

Those from Scotland (68%) were slightly more successful than respondents from England (66%) and Wales (64%).

People aged 55 and over were the most knowledgeable, with 72% of correct answers, while more men than women answered correctly to each of the nine factual questions they were asked

The research also found that only one in 10 people believed the First World War is the most important British history subject for children to learn about at school, ranking behind topics such as the Second World War, the history of the monarchy and the Magna Carta.

The Times WWI Centenary Facsimile research also revealed a gender divide in First World War knowledge, as more men than women knew the correct answer for each of the nine factual questions they were asked (72% of correct answers compared to 60%).

Rose Wild, archive editor of The Times, said: ”These results demonstrate that although many people are aware of some basic facts about WWI, there is much more to be learnt.”


World War Two

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