Centenary of the Armistice

Part of Assessment and Treatment Units: Vulnerable People – in the House of Commons at 7:29 pm on 6th November 2018.

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Photo of Kevin Brennan Kevin Brennan Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) (Arts and Heritage) 7:29 pm, 6th November 2018

I am glad that the hon. and gallant Gentleman has had the opportunity to put that on the record.

It is difficult to envisage the scale of the scourge that Lloyd George talked about. Four million men served in the British Army, alongside 3 million soldiers and labourers from what was then the British empire and Commonwealth. Some 1.27 million served from India alone, as well as over 10,000 from Jamaica. There were over 10 million military and 7 million civilian fatalities worldwide. Around 1 million British military personnel were killed, and the fighting stretched from Flanders to Gallipoli, from Pilckem Ridge to Palestine.

On this centenary of Armistice Day, we ponder three central thoughts. First, we honour the memories of those who fought and died. Secondly, we are solemnly grateful that the terrible tragedy came to an end. Thirdly, we are committed to preventing such devastation from happening again. I have been present in this Chamber when the House has been in a different mood—when the drums of war have been sounding. We should remember this moment when, inevitably, such events present themselves to us again. We should remember this kind of debate, as well as the mood the House sometimes gets into when we hear the sound of the drums of war.

These moments of commemoration are important, and I thank all those involved: the Imperial War Museum, the BBC, the Royal British Legion, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission—we have heard so much about the commission this afternoon—and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The fund held an important reception last week, and Dr Murrison, the Prime Minister’s envoy, was present. It really was a testament to the hard work done by him and by my hon. Friend Dan Jarvis on the commemorations.