Saturday June 28 was Armed Forces Day, an opportunity to thank our service personnel.
This was made more pertinent by the centenary of the start of World War One later this year when we will pause to remember all those who have played their part, including my own great uncle, Private Samuel Wakeham, who was killed during the Battle of the Somme in September 1916.
The British collective memory of The Great War recalls the death and destruction in the trenches of the Western Front.
However, there is another story that should be remembered; the story of the home front and the families, the women and children left behind by those who went off to fight.
SSAFA (then the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association) was the only charity in 1914 caring for the families of troops sent to the front line. Without a welfare system in place the Government asked for help to fill the gap in support for the servicemen’s families.
Through two World Wars and every subsequent conflict involving Britain, SSAFA has been here for our servicemen and women and their families. Today we still support some 90,000 people each year. The bottom line for us is providing support – for those who have done their bit for our country, and their families, making sure that when they are in need, we are there for them. They have made their selfless contribution and the least that we can do is be there for them in return.
Air Vice-Marshal David Murray,
Chief executive of SSAFA