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Remembrance Parades

Just got back from The parade in Huntingdon. A great turnout and the veterans platoon was larger that last year. However the RNA made up the majority which is shocking as we live a stones throw from at least 3 current or ex RAF Bases.

One thing I did notice was a midshipman in MTP marching with his old Air Cadet unit, one of our serving members had a word in his shell like!

A few hours off and it's then off to the pub for a swift one and then the local church.


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Purple_twiglet

War Hero
Moderator
JFH - to be honest I think it was poor form to pull the Middy in that way. He may well have been a new URNU member from the unit, or an AI at the unit and was trying to fit in with his group rather than stand alone. What has likely happened is that depending on how it was handled, your mate has either just made the Middy look a tit in front of his mates, or personally embarrassed him and possibly made him think twice about doing this sort of thing in future. Good thing we don't have a recruiting and manpower crisis really isn't it.

The only thing gained from this was letting someone humiliate a serving individual for their own end. Very poor form in my eyes. I remember what its like being an URNU middy trying to show respect to others at this sort of thing and often not really knowing what was the right thing to do, but at least trying. Having old and bold jeering at your well meaning contribution, even if it isn't quite right in the eyes of some, isn't the Service at its best, its the Service at its worst.

Actions like this really make me go off Remembrance Day - its rapidly becoming a day for people to ever more assertively go pick up people who are trying to do their best to help out, rather than pause for 2 minutes to take stock on departed Oppos.
 

exJenny

War Hero
Moderator
Book Reviewer
Good turnout for our local one but disappointed that some parents felt it was ok to let their kids run riot and scream and shout during the service.
 
To be fair he did take him to one side. Our serving member is a Lt Cdr.
It wasn't done in a way to humiliate him in front of the cadets.

I didn't see it he told me later.


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Purple_twiglet

War Hero
Moderator
JFH - to bw honest I think it was totally unnecessary. If there was an URNU contingent or an RN contingent then he could have marched with them, but I don't see any issue at all with someone marching with what was in effect their unit most likely until very recently.

We are far too precious as an organisation sometimes and too quick to see offending behaviour where good intention was the aim.
 
JFH - to bw honest I think it was totally unnecessary. If there was an URNU contingent or an RN contingent then he could have marched with them, but I don't see any issue at all with someone marching with what was in effect their unit most likely until very recently.

We are far too precious as an organisation sometimes and too quick to see offending behaviour where good intention was the aim.

Don't shoot the messenger, I'm only saying what happened.

He looked like a bag of shit in MTP, didn't even have a rank slide and even drilled like his ATC platoon. I'm only passing on what I saw


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Oxford57

Midshipman
My daughters urnu unit was represented at hull,Leeds,York and Sheffield,plenty of shoe shining and ironing last night
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
I go to my local church remembrance service in uniform, as I feel you should. The local Air Cadets have always lead the way with regard the service at the war memorial and I certainly wouldn't wish to muscle-in on the wreath laying, etc. I'm not into pissing contests with regard rank, senior service & war dits, it's not about me.

Going off on a slight tangent, had an interesting conversation with a vicar afterwards. He suggested that in 2018, 100 years after the end of the Great War, we should perhaps revert to a more low key remembrance with a focus on peace rather than war.

Not sure I fully agree, but I do wonder sometimes whether we are getting a bit too maudlin and often I wonder whether we need parades (besides perhaps the Cenotaph) to remember the fallen or whether a simple two minutes silence is enough.

Sometimes I feel as though some people don't go to remember the fallen, some actually seem to want people to remember, admire, revere or pity them as well as the glorious dead. Personally I don't feel that's what it is about, it should be about humilty, not about yourself . Yes, I am aware there have been many wars since the Great War, but it is that war which started the annual ceremony we know today. Doubtless many would disagree.
 

Purple_twiglet

War Hero
Moderator
NS - I couldnt agree more. I think the whole 'WE WILL REMEMBER MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE WILL REMEMBER' brigade, most usually comprising tedious, boring individuals determined to ensure we REMEMBER without asking what we are getting from it.

I had a very similar conversation today as well where we talked about changing emphasis away once the last person born in WW2 dies and it passes from living memory. At present the whole thing is too much of a hangers on event now, with too few actual veterans present. For instance when I started going to these things in the mid 80s, there were large WW1 and WW2 contingents, but today at a major UK event I counted single figures of WW2 vets. There were plenty of dubious, often scruffy and often wearing fake purchased medals types in their 40s - 60s, who had served but its not the same in my eyes. Similarly watching the military, the reserves, the cadets, the FANY, the St johns, the Fire Brigade and so on all lay a wreath and then god knows how many veteran organisations - more wreaths were laid than there were WW2 vets in the audience.

Its time to let go and take it back to what it should be - a short pause to reflect on departed oppos and family members sacrifice. To my mind I always go to the most humbling part of my career - attending repatriation ceremonies in Iraq, because that is to me what sacrifice is - the sun setting, the coffin laid in, the last post and the national anthem - nothing more, nothing less.
 

WreckerL

War Hero
Super Moderator
Attended two parades today as my RBL has to cover four ceremonies in the area. Last one I went to was my local one which involved a fair amount of time in the pub afterwards, good time, but I get where PT is coming from however, the last ceremony of today involved 34 wreaths being laid, which is good for a small community.

They ranged from the local primary school, cubs, beavers etc to the older (retired) groups so age span was from 6 to 80+.

The oldies remembered (it's not all about WW1 and WW2 vets, there have been other conflicts since BTW) and, hopefully, the youngsters learnt, which can't be a bad thing IMO.
 

Dredd

War Hero
Super Moderator
P_T, are you saying that the remembrance is only for the two major world conflicts then? We are not able to remember those who fell in the last 20 years, or those who went to the South Atlantic 32 tears ago and never came back? Not attacking you, it is just how your post read.

We always have a good turnout for Remembrance Parade at our town. Muster in Square, march to local church for service (rotates through a cycle of four), march back to Square and dismiss. As a Sea Cadet AV, I find that the sense of pride it instils in our cadets is invaluable as they make the effort to present their No.1s as the promise demands - I shall be proud of my uniform and smart and seaman-like in wearing it. It forges and maintains a link with the community, it reminds them that they are part of a much larger whole, it promotes the cadets as something others can aspire to be and so on. Most importantly, it reminds them that the service life can lead to the ultimate consequence and that the sacrifice of others past, present and future will be remembered and honoured.

Without this parade, we will gradually run down to only a relatively small contingent actually respecting the 2 minute silence while others make every excuse not to bother.

On the other hand, it is disruptive, for those who who step forward to organise it it can sometimes be seen as a thankless task, and it costs money. For me, none of those reasons are good enough to stop it. It is worth the time, worth the effort and worth the cost.
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
It's an interesting topic which can undoubtedly spark self-righteous outrage in some quarters.

Like many (most?) I've served in several areas of conflict/war, lost friends and mourn their loss. But, if we go back in time, the Cenotaph was initiated after the First World War, commissioned by the tellingly named Peace Celebrations Committee.

This isn't to say we shouldn't remember the fallen from all conflicts, however there is significant mission creep. Rather like the bizarre concept of an "Armed Forces Day", it is in danger of becoming a rather self-indulgent event that seems to heap praise on the living rather than the deceased. There are at least three or four other remembrance events held on different dates, at the Cenotaph besides the Remembrance Sunday service.

Originally the Remembrance Service was held on 11th November, no matter the day. Then it was held on the nominated Remembrance Sunday AND still marked on the 11th November. The one minute silence became two minutes silence (many official sources claim it's always been two minutes - I'd argue it hasn't). We now mark the silence twice, unless the 11th falls on a Sunday.

I watched the march past at the end of yesterdays' Remembrance Service at the cenotaph, having already attended one myself locally. They were still marching past an hour later. I'd argue nowadays there are more people marching than spectating. A question: Do all those people spend as much time and effort commemorating and grieving the loss of individual civilian loved-ones (family and friends) through something other than war every single year?

No, we shouldn't forget to remember the fallen and we should support those injured from all wars, but let's not lose sight of the fact it should be dignified and is most definitely not about the individual.
 

danny

War Hero
Rememberance day is not perfect for all the reasons already mentioned but I agree with Dredd that the alternative is that it probably dies out if it is changed too much.
As a kid I always had a link to the legion in that my grandma and grandad were both bearers off standards and I remember in the late 90s there being very real fear off the entire thing passing in to obscurity.
With the recent conflicts being so protracted and in the media gaze the exact opposite has happened.
I imagine when many of you were growing up we still had somewhat of an empire and the Russians were ready to invade at any moment with a huge armed force that required. These days so few people have links to the service and many of those that do are getting old.
If young kids take something from the day then it is worth putting up with a few self important ***** for an hour or two.

Also I don't believe the day is just about the dead. As the legions campaign says remember the dead, but don't forget the living. Sadly there's plenty of young lads in there 20s waking up screaming at night and this day and all the pomp that goes with it means as much to them as it did to returning tommies in the 1920s.
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
Also I don't believe the day is just about the dead. As the legions campaign says remember the dead, but don't forget the living.
Fully agree, this is entirely correct, but we are not mourning the loss of the living.

I always feel, rightly or wrongly, the two minutes silence and indeed the religious service itself is, as the name implies, about the fallen.

The funds raised through Poppy Appeal are for those who are living, be they injured or the families of those killed.
 
Had to have a laugh at my local parade, we had some civvy brass band where the drummer couldn't keep a beat and they went marching off faster than the light infantry, with the vets behind struggling to keep up. For the current serving squad you had the 4th Batallion Duke of Lancasters marching behind me (the only sailor there- I think their Captain was a bit narked as he thought he'd be leading the parade) and 1 cabfat behind them. The padre managed to keep his mouth shut this year during the 2 minuets silence thank god- I guess someone pulled him to one side as normally he loves the sound of his of voice so much he never shuts up. Just wished I could have stayed for a few drinks with my great-great-grandad, instead of having to get a train back to Guzz with no beer!

Never understood though why the local school kids lay a wreath mind, I guess the Police, Fire and Ambulance do so as a habit and tradition carried over from many vets working in these organisations, but to me a school kid in uniform has always felt hollow- the school has told them they will be doing it, least if said child is in a cadet uniform you know they're wanting to be there to honour those lost in conflict.
 

danny

War Hero
Fully agree, this is entirely correct, but we are not mourning the loss of the living.

I always feel, rightly or wrongly, the two minutes silence and indeed the religious service itself is, as the name implies, about the fallen.

The funds raised through Poppy Appeal are for those who are living, be they injured or the families of those killed.

I think you miss understand me the young lads want this to remember there mates who have been killed. It's no different to the 1920s just on a smaller scale.
 

Purple_twiglet

War Hero
Moderator
Dredd - I think my own strictly personal view is that there is a difference in public opinion and understanding between two world wars, which irrevocably touched the lives of most people in the UK, and a diverse range of deployments which weresmaller in nature, didnt impact at home in the same way and where people were (since 1960) professionals, not conscripts.

This means the sacrifice should not be forgotten, but we are within 20 years of losing our last WW2 vets, and 40 years of losing the last of those born in WW2. Its rapidly escaping public conciousness, and I think the day that the last WW2 vet passes on is probably the time we need to look again and instead move to a simpler, smaller service with less marching and a few minutes reflection.

As the veterans pass on, a variety of organisations are stepping up to lay wreaths, many of which (to me at least) demean the sacrifice of the veterans by attempting to fill the gap left by their passing.
 

danny

War Hero
Dredd - I think my own strictly personal view is that there is a difference in public opinion and understanding between two world wars, which irrevocably touched the lives of most people in the UK, and a diverse range of deployments which weresmaller in nature, didnt impact at home in the same way and where people were (since 1960) professionals, not conscripts.

This means the sacrifice should not be forgotten, but we are within 20 years of losing our last WW2 vets, and 40 years of losing the last of those born in WW2. Its rapidly escaping public conciousness, and I think the day that the last WW2 vet passes on is probably the time we need to look again and instead move to a simpler, smaller service with less marching and a few minutes reflection.

As the veterans pass on, a variety of organisations are stepping up to lay wreaths, many of which (to me at least) demean the sacrifice of the veterans by attempting to fill the gap left by their passing.
Dredd - I think my own strictly personal view is that there is a difference in public opinion and understanding between two world wars, which irrevocably touched the lives of most people in the UK, and a diverse range of deployments which weresmaller in nature, didnt impact at home in the same way and where people were (since 1960) professionals, not conscripts.

This means the sacrifice should not be forgotten, but we are within 20 years of losing our last WW2 vets, and 40 years of losing the last of those born in WW2. Its rapidly escaping public conciousness, and I think the day that the last WW2 vet passes on is probably the time we need to look again and instead move to a simpler, smaller service with less marching and a few minutes reflection.

As the veterans pass on, a variety of organisations are stepping up to lay wreaths, many of which (to me at least) demean the sacrifice of the veterans by attempting to fill the gap left by their passing.

I don't see what difference it makes if you were a conscript in WW1 that watched his oppo bleed out in Flanders or a professional career soldier who witnessed the same thing in Nad-e-Ali.
 

mikh

MIA
Had to have a laugh at my local parade, we had some civvy brass band where the drummer couldn't keep a beat

Similar for us, we had a civvy band leading and the sea cadet with a drum behind us, neither one kept a constant beat, it was a bit off putting.
 
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