We Will Remember Them

defence-of-the-realm-lest-we-forget

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

From Laurence Binyon’s poem For the Fallen

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“For the Fallen” by Robert Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

NEWS: First Sikh WWI memorial in UK unveiled

The Memorial (raf.mod.uk)

The Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum (raf.mod.uk)

A memorial commemorating the Sikh soldiers who fought with the British Indian Army in the First World War was unveiled by Major General Patrick Sanders CBE DSO, businessman Peter Singh Virdee and the monument’s chairman Jay Singh-Sohal at a ceremony at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. An ardaas prayer was recited and as well as the sounding of a traditional Sikh war cry, a one minute silence was observed by the guests.

The memorial is the first of its kind in the UK and serves to recognise the Sikh contribution to the British war effort. It was funded via a campaign on the Kickstarter website where more than 200 people from various faiths and backgrounds contributed anywhere between £1 to £1,000 to fund the cause.

Jay Singh-Sohal, the monument’s creator and charity chairman said:

It’s been a long time coming, but we finally have a dedicated memorial which will stand the test of time and attest to future generations the gratitude we have for the sacrifice and valour of our forefathers. This memorial is mindful of our glorious past and will inspire future generations to undertake public service as confident and proud British Sikhs. It is already attracting visitors from abroad, and will be a place of pilgrimage for people from all sections of our society to recall the bravery of a martial race that fought for Britain simply because it was their duty to serve and desire to seek glory in battle against tyranny and oppression.

Remarkably, while the Sikh population of India during the First World War was less than 1% of the total population they constituted around 20% of the British Indian Army. For their heroism, the Sikh soldiers received 29% of all Indian Orders of Merit awarded during the war and 24% of all Indian Distinguished Service Medals.

Poppy Appeal Request

Poppy appeal

As October comes to a close and November begins the people of Britain take to wearing their poppies to give thanks to those who have sacrificed their futures for our today. The very notion of wearing the poppy is a touching one as people from all walks of life and across the entire political spectrum show solidarity in their remembrance and appreciation.

Sadly, however this respect is not entirely universal. In the past few years there have been a worrying increase in theft and attacks on poppy sellers.

  • In 2003 a 79 year old volunteer collecting in Buckinghamshire was attacked with a hammer.
  • Just last year a 15-year old Army cadet was badly burned selling poppies in Manchester.

It’s difficult for right minded individuals to understand why these things happen but it is a fact of life that they do.

With that in mind I would like to ask that this year, as well as offering up a small donation, you take a moment to look around where the collection is taking place for any indication that someone may wish harm to the poppy seller or may want to steal the collection pot. If you suspect that this may be the case take the following action;

  1. Discretely warn the ticket seller (shouting at the ticket seller may encourage a thief to try his luck and snatch the pot).
  2. NEVER approach the person you suspect.
  3. If you see the pot snatched DO NOT attempt to recover it no matter how much you may want to. You would do better to try to record as many details as possible about the thief such as his description, where he/she was standing and where they went and give them to the police.
  4. If you witness a seller attacked try to raise the alarm as quickly as possible.

A calm approach is always the best. Nobody should be expected to do more than they can but together we can make it as difficult as possible for these thugs and in doing so make it all the safer for those selfless people who devote their time to a truly worthy cause.