Remembrance Day

This is the speech I was planning to give in the debate to mark Remembrance Day in the House of Commons. Unfortunately, we ran out of time so I was not able to speak.

“It was an honour to attend the Service of Remembrance and lay a wreath at the Cenotaph on Sunday in Rhos in my constituency of Clwyd South which was beautifully organised by the Rhos Community Council and the Royal British Legion. The Rev’d Phil Bettinson conducted the service with an insightful address and the overcast skies added to the atmosphere.

The most moving part was the reciting by school children of the names of the fallen in Rhos and the surrounding area which had been pre-recorded and which always brings home to you the individual loss and the terrible waste of war.

The first two-minute silence in Britain was held on 11 November 1919, when King George V asked the public to observe a silence at 11am. He made the request so "the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead".

It is therefore not surprising that our minds tend to inhabit the trenches of the First World War when we first think of Remembrance Day but then we think of all the other wars that it commemorates including not only the Second World War but those of more recent times – the Falklands War, the Gulf War and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It is also a time to remember our veterans, who survived war but carry the scars both physically and mentally to this day, and also to pay tribute to those who are currently serving in the armed forces.

I would also like to make a special mention of the future of the armed forces, namely the Army and Air Force Cadets who are particularly strongly represented and very active in Clwyd South: the Army Cadets based in Brynteg, Rhos, Cefn Mawr, Llangollen and Corwen as well as the 856 Chirk and 1251 Ruabon Air Cadets.

I grew up in an army family, before we moved to Wales, as both my father and grandfather were professional soldiers in the Scottish regiment The Cameronians and my father was also a distinguished military historian so this is a subject close to my heart.

Clwyd South, Wrexham and the rest of North Wales are home to many proud veterans who have given so much for their country and I salute them and thank them for their courage and service.

My Honourable friend the Member for Wrexham, a veteran herself, and I work closely together on this vital issue: we recently met with the Veterans Minister, Johnny Mercer MP, about improving welfare support for veterans and we have warmly welcomed the extension of funding for the Army Liaison Officers at Wrexham and Denbighshire Councils.

As with so much else during this Coronavirus crisis, Remembrance Day in Clwyd South has adapted to the restrictions arising from Covid and there have been some remarkable new ways of marking Armistice Day including:

• the very moving video made by the community in Chirk in which the names of the fallen were recited by different members of the community to the music of Elgar’s Nimrod Variation,

• and, in Brymbo, the poppies made by members of the community which were tied to the gates and railings of the Brymbo Sports and Social Club in a poignant display of remembrance.

This was in support of the Royal British Legion’s “Every Poppy Counts” campaign which underlines the central meaning of Remembrance Day that every life counts whether it be the fallen, those who serve today or those veterans who are still with us and for whom we must redouble our efforts to support.”