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Remembering in the community with British Futures

Remembering in the community with British Futures


The Royal British Legion works to make Remembrance
available to everyone, honouring the service and sacrifice of all Britain’s communities. In partnership with British Future, we hosted community events to commemorate our shared
history. Men and women from Britain, the commonwealth and our European allies like Poland and the
Czech Republic stood side by side during the Second World War. I was 16 years old when
the Second World War started and I remember it very, very well. We arrived via Liverpool
to England and I was sent to the Faldingworth, 300 Bomber Squadron stationed there and I
was put to work on the flying control where I directed planes when they were approaching.
Thousands of bombing raids were launched from Lincolnshire’s airfields in World War Two,
flown by men from the RAF and from the Polish air force too like 300 Squadron who were based
just 40 miles up the road from here. Boston today is home to people from Poland and from
Britain too living side by side and it is important we remember this history that we
all share. Children were given the poppies and on the back of the poppies they wrote
lovely messages. Some of them were poems, some of them were prayers, they wrote them,
as well as in Polish and in English, to all who fought for our countries, and to say thank
you for what they did for our freedom. There were 2.5 million soldiers from pre-partition
India fighting alongside troops from Britain, Africa, the Caribbean and other parts of the
Commonwealth. I didn’t know there were so many other countries that came together and
helped us do this. A lot of the experiences that, for instance, the Caribbean community
were sharing with us, it hit home. Those were experiences we had in our own communities.
Today’s event is inspired by the Indian Comforts Fund, which sent care packages from Britain
to Indian soldiers on the front line or in prisoner of war camps. In the war years when
these dear soldiers must have received these, it must have been a joy and a real treat
for them. A good way to get everybody in their more playful zones so they could contemplate
and really feel connected to each other. So many people don’t know how many nations were
involved helping the allies, especially in the Second World War. We have a chance to
meet and exchange our history, our past and very often we find out that, that past somehow
has something in common. It would be great if we could do this every year as an annual
event and certainly as a bi-annual event it would be a lovely thing to do. Learning about
our shared history can bring people together because we were all in it together, we were
all fighting together. Remembrance Sunday does feel more relevant to me now because
I can actually relate and I can look into my own history. If only people realised then
I think our remembrance celebrations would be very different. That is very, very important
to remember and remind all the younger people how it was. People like myself who have done
their share we should never forget them. It is our duty for those who are here today to
remember those who are gone. To find out more about Remembrance and ways to get involved,
visit rbl.org.uk/remembrance

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