RAF Benevolent Fund Controller Air Vice-Marshal David Murray pays tribute to those who served and those who serve today in this Remembrance Day blog.
At 11:00 am on 11 November 1918, the guns fell silent over Europe and the First World War – the war to end all wars – came to an end. This happened as a result of an armistice signed by the Germans earlier that day and finished four years of hostilities that had seen over a million British servicemen and women die at sea, in the air and on foreign soil, together with millions more from the Commonwealth, our allies and our enemies.
During the next few months, it was decided that a two-minutes silence would be held at 11:00am on the anniversary of the Armistice, 11 November, to remember the fallen and the maimed of the Great War, and in 1919 the first two-minutes silence was held in Britain.
But as we all know, the First World War was not 'the war to end all wars' and in every year since 1918 we have had British servicemen and women fighting in wars or taking part in campaigns in all four corners of the world. In fact, in every year since 1918, apart from one – 1968 – British servicemen and women have been killed on active duty.
So, today, we pause and stand together again to remember the sacrifice of those servicemen and women and civilians who have died or suffered in mind and body in war and conflict since the First World War.
Of course, many of these victims came from previous generations; generations that we never knew. But that doesn't matter. Today we remember their courage. Many others, though, have been our relatives, our comrades or our friends.
Today, the RAF Benevolent Fund looks after many of those who have served our country, those that were injured, the sick and those simply in need – over 41,000 last year. This is what the Benevolent Fund is about, it's what we do, it is why we exist.
Today we remember the dead and the injured who did what they did for us, for our safety, our security and our freedom. And let us also remember the many current British servicemen and women who are today deployed on 28 different operations around the world.
Let us pray to God that they all return to their families safely.