I was fortunate to represent Saint Martin’s at a service at the Royal Star and Garter Home in Solihull. The service honoured and commended the sacrifice made by British soldiers 100 years ago today. It was an apt reminder to never forget each man that served in the costly battle.
As we reflect back on one of costliest engagements in British military history it is easy for my generation to feel disconnected from the numerous deaths and casualties experienced a century ago. However, there is no time more poignant than now to recognise the sacrifice that the fathers, sons, husbands, brothers and uncles made in fighting to maintain our country’s freedom and values. As George Santana said “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.
I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to visit the Battlefields, walking on the area of No Man’s land that saw the death of 20,000 British soldiers 100 years ago today. I remember feeling emotionally overwhelmed by the enormity of grave stones that commemorated the death of British men that had fought in the battle of the Somme. Until visiting the memorial I found it hard to appreciate the extent of devastation that resulted from the 141 days of artillery fire. But today I think it is important to appreciate the vitality that has come from the sacrifice made by British soldiers 100 years ago. These soldiers died for the freedom of our country and for the lives of all us today; even though some of those fallen remain unidentified and names have become lost in fields of headstones, our continued gratitude to these British soldiers means that every man will be remembered.