Sunday, September 24, 2006

Remembering the Fallen

In Carlisle Cathedral, Cumbria there is a Regimental Chapel for the Border Regiment, the traditional county regiment for men from the former counties of Cumberland and Westmorland. Photographed here are the three 'Roll of Honour' registers at one side Chapel. The Register in the cabinet on the left lists the names of those men from the regiment who lost their lives in the Great War, the middle cabinet has the Register of those who lost their lives in the Second World War, and the one on the right commemorates those who lost their lives serving with the KORBR between 1959 and 2006.

At the other side of the Chapel are Memorial tablets commemorating those who lost their lives serving with the Regiment at other times, such as the Boer War. The Chapel does a fine job in ensuring regular and casual visitors remember the sacrifice of the many Fallen comrades who served with the Regiment during its history. Near the Altar is yet another Register listing the names of couples with Regimental links who have been married in there. So, happy events as well as sad ones are remembered in this Chapel, just like in a 'family'.


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Although I have never wanted to serve in the Armed Forces, from an early age my family always stressed the importance of remembering the Fallen. They seemed to stress not merely the fact someone had died, or even just how or why they had died, but how they had lived and what they had lived and died for.

We were always told it was also important to remember the good things about our relatives or their friends who had given their lives in the World Wars, and to honour their sacrifice. This is something that seems to be coming back into vogue these days. Engaging the younger people of today in local Remembrance Services, visiting locations where events took place and through education is something the 'older' generations (i.e. we 'Over 30s') should try to do.

This is a personal opinion but it is something that I feel should be encouraged. That way, the things that happened, good and bad, and our forebears will be remembered.

[NB - For a 7 year old child anybody over the age of 30 is ancient!]

Sunday, 24 September, 2006  
Blogger Peter G said...

LOL. Although I have never wanted to serve in the Armed Forces

Joseph, spoken like a real veteran of WW2. That was true of nearly all participants.

Sunday, 24 September, 2006  
Blogger Frank Mee said...

Some of us did want to serve in the forces Joseph, only in our innocence and fed on a diet of Beau Geste and Gunga Din we had a false idea of life in the forces.
Some of us saw and had to do things which seemed beyond the bounds of reason.
A lot of those lads who were called up for war had no idea what it would be like but had to learn fast.
They saw horror's they could not talk about yet when war ended they were expected to take up normal civvy life as if nothing had happened and were not encouraged to talk about it.
I will always give homage to those men and women who gave up everything for the future generations, they did not have a lot of choice.
The Army motto was Volunteers get what they deserve, I second that and should have known better but I still enjoyed the good bits.

Monday, 25 September, 2006  
Blogger Tomcann said...

In my own experience - I was a bit nonchalant about serving - but having been denied further education - it was or appeared to be better than the tank building I was occupied with in Birmingham on constant nightshift - so I went off quite happily to Bury St.Edmonds to crawl around in the mud for six weeks - then on to Tank training at Barnard Castle - and as a potential Officer I enjoyed the extra training until at the 6th wosbie I was turned down by a little fat Major as I could not spell the word reconaissance fast enough for his liking and the Brigadier agreed.
About that point I decided that I would just put up with it as it must end sometime.
It damn near ended in Italy, but I still remember the good times, the funny side of most decisions, the friendship of so many - and the memories of those who did not survive.
These were great days and the present generations will not have the opportunity to achieve what we did with very little equipment to offset the advantage of our enemies.

Monday, 25 September, 2006  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Some interesting comments and views you have! Those of you who have these personal memories of WW2 can look at things rather differently to my post-war viewpoint.

Peter, from the people who were eligible to serve in the Armed Forces I would say there are at least four categories:

1. Those who did not want to serve in the Forces, and never did (i.e. CO's). Generally speaking they were highly-principled people, such as Mr John Skelly a Brethren preacher and miner I interviewed some years ago and whose story I posted to the "People's War". He was a CO, but certainly no coward. (His brother George, who was also a CO, won the MM in Normandy serving with the RAMC).

2. Those who did not want to serve in the Forces, but did so anyway. As someone looking at it from a distance I would think a lot of those who served saw it as their duty in dire circumstances. This is possibly how some of you thought at the time? I suspect if I had been around in WW2 this is probably the view I would have had.

3. Those who wanted to serve in the Armed Forces but were not allowed to do so (e.g. Bevin Boys). Living in what was a mining area (coal / iron ore) there were some from this category who ended up as Bevin Boys near where I was brought up (West Cumbria).

4. Those who wanted to serve in the Armed Forces and couldn't wait to get away. No doubt a lot of them did did not know what it would entail. Perhaps it was just as well when you consider some of the worst things that happened in war.

I might need to think it through a bit more to give examples of all of these. I have met some who fell into each category, at least in Britain. In Europe it was slightly, but not totally different. Peter, you will be the expert on that area I feel!.

Frank and Tom, I think you have summed it up about right. There were a lot of good times to remember as well the bad things that happened. My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and other relatives always told us the good things about the war years and about the importance of remembering.

Some of my cousins went on to serve in the Forces (RAF) and others in the Cadets. Those that wanted to were encouraged to join if that was what they wanted to do. In my case I never had any desire to join the Forces. At least I had the luxury of deciding what I wanted to do (to some extent). Those of you who are a little older than I am did not have quite that same choice.

Monday, 25 September, 2006  
Blogger Ron Goldstein said...

If I may, I'd like to offer another slant on 'wanting to serve in the Armed Forces'.

In August 1942 at the age of nineteen I was living in a small village about thirty miles from London and commuting daily into central London.

I had made friends with various other chaps of the same age as myself, all doing the same commute and we were all expecting to be called up at any time.

As August led into September our party dwindled on a daily basis as we received the call to arms and we all literally waited each day for the postman to call with the magic buff envelope.

Mine came mid-September and I cannot describe how relieved and glad I was to get the summons to Bury St.Edmunds for Thursday October the 1st.

I believe there were many like me, not rushing to volunteer but glad to receive the call to arms and I like to think that at the time we served our country well.

Tuesday, 26 September, 2006  
Blogger Frank Mee said...

I never thought of conscientious objectors as cowards, they had to state their beliefs in time of war which to me was a brave thing to do.
They worked in many of the none combatant situations but just as dangerous, Fireservice, Rescue Squads, Medical units, many as stretcher bearers, they had to be brave to do that.
The jingoism of wartime was aimed at young lads, they joined the forces not knowing what it was like and learned the hard way.
They did what had to be done alwways with the hope it would all soon end.
We had volunteers mixed with National Service many of whom did not want to be there, a small proportion tried their utmost to get out but I always thought ten months in Colchester was a hard way to get out of the army and I did know of such a case.
Many National Service men had been deferred for various reasons some were old men to me, they were in their twenties. Some were married and even had children some had well paid jobs in civvy street, it was the biggest shock of their lives, I saw growm men cry. To us very young but hard trained soldiers they were like children and questioned everything which brought down hell on all of us in that Platoon. It caused some behind the Naafi discipline from those of us who wanted things running smoothly.
Bevin boys had no choice, they were from all classes and all walks of life.
I had been down the pit at New Brancepeth which was one of the better ones, every nerve was screaming to get out and yet it was in the blood.
To those poor lads who had never seen a pit in their lives it must have looked like Hades.
They did the job and recieved no medals or praise, brave men all.
When the call comes men give up normal life to do their duty Like Tom Ron and many others some who gave everything. I think if such a call ever came again you would do your duty Joseph.

Tuesday, 26 September, 2006  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Thanks for all the comments, and an insight into your own personal feelings at the time. These are different times to the Second World War. I feel most 'young' folk would rise to do whatever they felt was their duty if there was a need.

The Second World War was a lot different from that of 1914. A lot of my male forebears and their 'Pals' who were around in 1914 couldn't get signed up to the Forces fast enough. Our local 'Lord of the Manor' (Lord Lowther, Earl of Lonsdale) even formed his own Battalion of the Border Regiment, ignoring a request from the Government to stop recruiting. The Mayor of Whitehaven went to see Lord Lowther as there was going to be a manpower shortage in the town. Lord Lowther said he was busy appointing his officers and NCOs and could not spare the time to see the Worshipful Mayor!

Wednesday, 27 September, 2006  

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