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REFLECTIONS ON REMEMBRANCE

Members of the Company of Communicators with military affiliations and backgrounds talk about what Remembrance means for them.


Lt Col Tim Purbrick OBE VR RL, Assistant Commander HQ Combat Manoeuvre Centre:



“Over a military career of more than 30 years, including wars and operational deployments, I have lost friends and comrades in battles and accidents. As the Spokesman for Task Force Helmand I had the duty of writing the first notification statements for those we lost during our tour, from my first day in the role to almost my last. Some I knew, most I did not, but all were part of our family.


“I remember seeing, touching and being intensely moved when I found my great uncle's name carved into the Thiepval Memorial. The loss of his twin brother was so painful for my grandfather that he never mentioned his name again.


“'Death is nothing at all' wrote Henry Scott Holland in his poem. Sadly, for those left behind, death is something. For those who were witness to its happening, something deeply traumatic - a comrade in arms, a person we loved, viscerally removed from life by a bullet or bomb as they soldiered beside us. For the wider family of comrades who knew and loved them, a life-long bond unshackled in a moment leaving memories swirling in the wake of their passing. For those who are family, our mothers, fathers, wives and children, a profound and heart wrenching loss from which there is no recovery, save, in time, a reckoning with the understanding of living with absence.


“Happily for most, Remembrance Day is but once a year. For an old soldier like me, Remembrance Day is not just once a year. For some, every day is Remembrance Day.”

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