Saturday, July 18, 2009

The last volunteer

During the First World War this country appealed for volunteers to join the armed forces. To many men it meant leaving their homes for a long time. It meant risking their lives. For many it meant taking a significant salary cut. But to say the response was overwhelming would be a huge understatement. If the country needed such manpower ever again I wonder if we'd see even a remotely similar response.

The men who volunteered fought in atrocious conditions but they gave it their all and more. Many made the ultimate sacrifice. This country owes so much to them.

Today the last of the volunteers, Henry Allingham, has died. With his passing the entire generation of volunteers have passed into history.

In his final years Allingham was determined that his comrades and their sacrifice were not forgotten. This final mission was a success.

1 comment:

Strawberryyog said...

Tim, did you catch any of his funeral on TV? It was excellent - I know it sounds incongruous to say that but it truly was. There were some terrific speeches from family, clergy, RAF and RN brasshats etc and the whole thing, naturally, was more about celebration than regret. 113 rings on a bell afterwards, a ?French trumpeter doing some nice trumpet call, two Royal Marine buglers doing the Last Post and - er- another call, and a flypast of five replica World War I aircraft. I thought it a very worthy sendoff.


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