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

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to refer to the founding of the Women’s Institute. May I also pay tribute to him for rightly drawing attention, as a former merchant seaman, to the sacrifice of the merchant navy? It is of course because of these sacrifices that the centenary of Armistice Day, and Remembrance Sunday each year, are an essential part of our cultural life. We must remember those who fought to keep us safe. We must recommit to ensuring that we never allow such division and devastation to happen again.

With your indulgence, Mr Speaker, I will close, as others have done, with poetry. I turn to the words of Hedd Wyn’s poem “Rhyfel”, which means war in Welsh. I will read part of it in Welsh first and then give the English translation. It reads:

“Mae’r hen delynau genid gynt,

Yng nghrog ar gangau'r helyg draw,

A gwaedd y bechgyn lond y gwynt,

A’u gwaed yn gymysg efo’r glaw.

It translates as follows:

“The harps to which we sang, are hung

On willow boughs, and their refrain

Drowned by the anguish of the young

Whose blood is mingled with the rain.”

Mr Speaker, we will remember them.