LISA NANDY MP: We will never forget the fallen
Remembrance provides an opportunity to reflect on the enduring contribution of our Armed Forces. This year we mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands conflict in which 255 British service personnel were killed and another 775 wounded.
It is also the 80th anniversary of the RAF Regiment. Since its formation in 1942 the RAF Regiment has played a vital part in all major UK military operations.
Our Armed Forces continue to have a crucial role in defending our communities both at home and abroad. British forces remain respected worldwide for their professionalism and all-round excellence. They represent the values British people admire most - courage, integrity, loyalty, discipline and public service. The defence of the nation is taking on even greater importance in an increasingly uncertain world.
Vladimir Putin’s brutal and illegal invasion of Ukraine is the biggest crisis in European security since the Cold War. As ever, our Armed Forces have played a leading role in confronting Russian aggression, coordinating supplies, supporting NATO allies on deployments to Estonia and training Ukrainian troops.
The UK has trained over 6,000 Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel since 2022, who have continued to push back Putin’s forces. This is in addition to the everyday work our Armed Forces do, from peacekeeping and providing humanitarian aid to enforcing anti-terrorism measures and helping combat the international drug trade.
Back home our Armed Forces also played a leading role in helping local communities in Wigan through the Covid-19 pandemic. 34,000 Forces personnel were involved in efforts to tackle the pandemic across the UK.
Personnel worked in ICU wards, driving ambulances, giving Covid jabs and taking on many other key tasks to help the country through the pandemic.
More recently service personnel played a major role during the 10-day period of national mourning following the death of Her Majesty The Queen, the longest serving Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces. There will be a number of opportunities to remember those who have served their country across our borough in the coming days. I encourage people to support the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal and help fund the vital work the charity does to support members of the Armed Forces community in need.
At 11am on Armistice Day there will be the observance of the traditional two minutes silence to mark the end of the First World War.
On Remembrance Sunday, church services and parades will take place across Wigan including the procession from Wigan Town Hall to the War Memorial in All Saints’ Gardens followed by a service at Wigan Parish Church which I will be attending.
Wreath laying ceremonies will also be taking place at war memorials across the borough.
Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday gives us a chance to honour the service and sacrifices made by our Armed Forces personnel, both past and present. We will remember them.