World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

Royal British Legion (RBL)
The Royal British Legion (RBL), sometimes referred to as simply The Legion, is the United Kingdom's leading charity providing financial, social and emotional support to those who have served or who are currently serving in the British Armed Forces, and their dependants.
Poppy Girls: Megan Adams, 10, Charlotte Mellor, 17, Alice Milburn, 13, Florence Ransom, 10, and Bethany Davey, 15, sing a 'hauntingly beautiful' track for this year's remembrance day. The song is by singer Regina Spektor
Poppy Girls on BBC Radio Sheffield - 10th Nov 13

Poppy Girls on RS 10th Nov 13.mp3

Images uploaded by Bill Ross - RBL Membership No. 2048831

New post on God and Politics in the UK

We will remember them

    by Gillan @ God and Politics in the UK

Remembrance Day Poppy

For the first time that I can remember tears came to my eyes during the two minute silence at my church yesterday. One of my friends in front of me recently lost her nephew in Afghanistan and as I glanced at her the pain that she has experienced got to me.

When I was at secondary school and the annual remembrance service would include the reading of names of the school's pupils who had died in the two world wars. As we spoke the line "We will remember them" in unison, there was something about the ritual that left me empty. These names meant nothing to us standing there. The whole experience seemed very hollow and irrelevant.

Things are somewhat different now. Each morning when I draw the curtains I can see from my bedroom the remnants of a radar station once used to monitor activity across the channel. Then as I drive to work, being near the East coast, I pass a number of military pillboxes in the fields and on the side of the road; each one testament to the threat of invasion that this country feared would happen 70 years ago.  These scars on the landscape are a regular reminder that even in times and places of relative peace, war and conflict are never far away.

In reality, peace is something of an illusion. Though I go about my daily life free from the fear of immediate war, I am still drawn into conflict through those I know who are more directly affected, through the news that brings it into my living room, through the actions and decisions that our government makes from time to time and through the agencies whom I support asking for help with the humanitarian relief they are attempting to bring to those caught in the middle. The human condition that leads too many to abuse power and oppress and attack those who disagree with them affects us all.

We shouldn't expect anything else. John Lennon sang about giving peace a chance. I, like him and so many of us, want to see peace break out and conflicts resolved. As a Christian I read that Jesus is called the Prince of Peace. The desire for an end to suffering is in my blood, but in Jesus I find someone who though he did so much good and taught others to do the same was persecuted and killed. Even those who long for peace cannot be exempted from the pain of conflict. I may be doing my best to fight on the side of peace, justice and righteousness, but that fight leads me into battle and that makes me a soldier. In the book of Ephesians it talks about the armour of God and the need for Christians to carry their swords and shields. It's clear that war is not just physical, it is also spiritual. As long evil continues to affect our hearts causing some who have the opportunity to attempt to exert control over others to the point of suffering and death, war will continue and when two or more sides attack each other for the same reasons as we see in Syria, the intensity and grief is further exacerbated.

This is why Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday can never be an irrelevance to me again. As we hold these two minutes of silence it reminds me to be thankful for the peace I experience as a result of the dedication of those who fought and are fighting for freedom for my sake, to pray against those who wage war in their own interests and that I too might play my part as a faithful soldier in the army of the Prince of Peace.

Gillan @ God and Politics in the UK | November 11, 2013 at 7:52 am | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:
The British Legion was founded in 1921 as a voice for the ex-Service community as a merger of four organisations: the Comrades of the Great War, the National Association of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers, the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilized Sailors and Soldiers and the Officers' Association. It was granted a Royal Charter on 29 May 1971 to mark its fiftieth anniversary which gives the Legion the privilege of the prefix 'Royal'.

Earl Haig, commander of the Battle of the Somme and Passchendaele was one of the founders of the Legion, and was President until his death.

Perhaps best known for the yearly Poppy Appeal and Remembrance services, the Legion is a campaigning organisation that promotes the welfare and interests of current and former members of the British Armed Forces.

The Legion fight nearly 36,000 on going War Disablement Pension cases for war veterans and make around 300,000 welfare and friendship visits every year.
Ongoing Legion campaigns include calls for more research into: Gulf War syndrome and compensation for its victims; upgrading of War Pensions; the extension of endowment mortgage compensation for British military personnel serving overseas; and better support for British military personnel resettling into civilian life. In 2007, the Legion launched the Honour the Covenant campaign urging the Government to honour the Military Covenant.
The head office is based next to Borough tube station.

Poppy Appeal

The Legion holds a fund-raising drive each year in the weeks before Remembrance Sunday, during which artificial red poppies, meant to be worn on clothing, are offered to the public in return for a donation to the Legion. According to the Legion, "The red poppy is our registered mark and its only lawful use is to raise funds for the Poppy Appeal". The poppies are manufactured at the Poppy Factory in Richmond.

Festival of Remembrance

The Legion organises 'The Festival of Remembrance' on the Saturday before 'Remembrance Sunday' which is historically derived from the 1918 Western European First World War 'Armistice Day' (11 November) with the Royal Albert Hall, London, having been involved together with the Monarchy as from the 1920s, it being now called 'The Festival of Remembrance' but possibly not originally having been intended to hold this sort of general character (from its origin it possessed a status approaching that of a state event such as Trooping the Colour but originally with particular reference to a particular period of history, the First World War, at a European level). Originally featuring composer John Foulds's World Requiem it includes military displays by current members of the armed forces, choral performances, and prayers. It culminates with the parading of Servicemen and Women down the aisles and onto the floor of the hall, and the release of poppy petals from the roof.

The event is run twice; the first, afternoon event is open to any member of the public. The evening event is the more prestigious; tickets are only available to members of the Legion and their families, and senior members of the Royal Family (the Queen, Prince Philip, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex). In 2007, the second half of the evening event was aired live on BBC Radio 2. BBC One showed the event an hour later.

Most parts of the Festival are of a formal, thought-provoking, and solemn nature. In recent years, lighter sketches have been included, for example depicting civilian life during wartime, in an attempt to attract viewers from generations born after the Second World War.

Honour the Covenant campaign

Honour the Covenant is a campaign launched by The Royal British Legion in September 2007, which calls on the UK Government to honour the Military Covenant. The campaign aims to seek public support for the issues identified by the Legion and to encourage their Members of Parliament to act to ensure that Government policy is changed.

The campaign accuses the Government of failing to meet its commitments under the Covenant. The Legion highlighted the case of a 23-year-old paratrooper, injured in battle, who was awarded £152,150 despite injuries requiring care for the rest of his life. It also criticised the practice of treating soldiers in wards alongside civilian patients. In his conference speech that October, Conservative Party leader David Cameron referred to the Covenant and said "Mr. Brown, I believe your government has broken it."

Medical care
Responding to the Royal British Legion's campaign, the former Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson announced in November 2007 that armed forces veterans would get priority treatment on the National Health Service, and those injured would be treated immediately in hospital rather than go through waiting lists. Prescription charges would also be waived. A tight budget settlement for the Ministry of Defence in 2007 saw five former Chiefs of the Defence Staff launch personal criticism of Prime Minister Gordon Brown in a simultaneous House of Lords debate.

In upholding the claim of six Gurkha soldiers for the right to settle in Britain at the end of their service, Mr Justice Blake's judgement in September 2008 recited the Military Covenant before observing that granting them residence in Britain "would, in my judgment, be a vindication and an enhancement of this covenant".

Controversial donations
In September 2009, the Legion accepted a donation from Rachel Firth, a British National Party member. She raised money by spending 24 hours in a cardboard box, giving half to the BNP and half to the Legion. The donation was initially rejected but was accepted after Firth assured the donation would not be exploited politically.

In August 2010, Tony Blair pledged the proceeds of his memoirs, A Journey, to the Legion. This included a £4.6 million advance. Blair said the donation was offered "as a way of marking the enormous sacrifice [the armed forces] make for the security of our people and the world". The Legion announced they would use the donation to help fund their planned Battle Back challenge centre, a project that will provide state-of-the-art rehabilitation services for seriously injured troops returning from the frontline. The Director General of the charity, Chris Simpkins said he was delighted with what he called "this very generous" offer. The donation was the largest in the charity's history. There was some mixed responses to the news with some anti war campaigners and some families of the soldiers killed in the Iraq war and the Afghanistan war claiming the donation was “blood money” and a public relations stunt.

Yesterday (9th November 2013), whilst selling poppies for the Royal British Legion, we were told by a young schoolboy that his head teacher (at a Barnsley school) has banned the wearing of poppies. This has disgusted beyond belief all those whom we have since relayed this to. "What could it be?" they ask, "political correctness, health and safety?" First schools ban God, now this. Who knows, next they'll be banning obscenity, bullying and anti-social behaviour ( our dreams).

The head teachers of this land need to realise that were it not for those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom, the Nazi Swastika would be adorning schools' every classroom, Barnsley would be part of the Third Reich, we'd be speaking Deutsch and we'd all have blonde hair and blue eyes (we'd have been slaughtered if they were any other colour). The head teachers would not enjoy the autonomy to ban THAT!!!!
News Letter for West and South Yorkshire, December 2012
Scanned News letter Dec 2012.pdf Scanned News letter Dec 2012.pdf
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