Tag Archives: Remembrance Day


Our political leaders will always find the time to parade in front of the media at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day, just as you can be sure to find your own MP standing at the local war memorial as the clock strikes eleven.

However, when it comes to debating and formulating veterans policy it’s a different story. On the first day of what is Armed Forces week, parliament debated the ending of historical prosecutions of armed forces veterans. None of the party leaders felt the need to attend and only one Labour MP wasn’t doing something else. All the Lib Dem and SNP MPs were washing their hair or otherwise engaged. While more than 50 Conservative MPs showed up, including Mark Lancaster the Minister for the Armed Forces, his boss Gavin Williamson the Secretary of State for Defence was not among them as you might have expected.

And if you thought this was just a one-off you’d be wrong. In March 2016, MPs were asked to debate “the complete vacuum of provision” of care for service veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

On that occasion only 12 Conservative Ministers bothered to turn up.


Of course, later the same year all the usual suspects were on parade at the Cenotaph, just as they will be again this year.


Words and deeds are not aligned.

On Armistice Day

On Armistice Day we remember all those who fell in the two World Wars and other conflicts.

The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I was more than 38 million: there were over 17 million deaths and 20 million wounded, ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in human history. The total number of deaths includes about 11 million military personnel and about 7 million civilians.

World War II was much, much worse with civilian deaths twice that of military personnel. Fatality statistics vary from 50 million to more than 80 million. The higher figure includes deaths from war related disease and famine. Civilian deaths totalled 50 to 55 million with military dead from 21 to 25 million, including deaths in captivity of about 5 million. In all about 3% of the entire world population died as a consequence.

Since 1945, 7,145 UK Armed Forces personnel have died on operations, 453 of them in Afghanistan. The numbers are small by comparison, but even they are hard to comprehend beyond statistics on an MoD spreadsheet. Yet every single one is still someone’s son or daughter, father or mother, husband or wife. Loved by a special few, cherished by many and, on Armistice Day, remembered by all.