Remembrance is a time to stop and think of those who fought for our freedoms. Officer Cadet Josh Rowles, from Bristol University Air Squadron, tell us what Remembrance means to him and who he'll be thinking of when he stands silent.
Remembrance is such a key event in my diary each year. I have had the pleasure of meeting many veterans. Some of these veterans have grown to become close friends, while I have only had a brief conversation with others. I feel that we must not delay in appreciating the efforts of those who are still with us, their actions have provided our freedoms and we must share thanks. Through my conversations, what has been clear to me is that each veteran has their story, and these stories are so astonishing and inspirational to listen to.
This year during the lockdown, I have dedicated time to researching a local hero. Flight Sergeant Victor Hill was one of the 133 air crew who took part in the famous Dambusters raid. Working to provide a picture of his life both before and during his service in the Royal Air Force to his daughter Valerie, I have learnt so much about him and his story.
Finding this information has been extremely emotional, highlighting many of his key life events. Valerie and I have shared many phone conversations during the restrictions to keep up to date on my progress and it has been so rewarding to be able to share this information with her. Victor unfortunately did not survive the Second World War, but his story lives on, even if I am only rediscovering it today.
Attending many parades in uniform as a former member of the Air Training Corps and now a current member of the University Air Squadron, I have always felt a huge sense of pride on Remembrance Day. This year will be no different. While restrictions limit services, I will be attending an online service as if I were there in person. Each year I feel it is important to consider the sacrifices made by all service personnel but this year, I will be standing silent for Flight Sergeant Victor Hill.
As we remember the noble sacrifice of those who gave their lives for our country, we mustn't forget our brave RAF veterans – especially those who are alone and isolated. Give the gift of friendship this Remembrance Day so RAF veterans no longer suffer in silence.
If you would prefer to donate over the phone, just call 020 7580 8343 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm) and one of the team will be happy to help.