For Bomber Command veteran Jack Watson Remembrance Sunday has always been a day of quiet reflection. So this year will be no different, despite the COVID-19 restrictions as he looks forward to watching the national commemorations while remembering his own, personal story. In this guest blog he tells us what Remembrance means to him.
In the early years after the war, Remembrance was a painful day, remembering those I'd lost. These days, as the last surviving member of my air crew, I remember all of those I served with. They were lovely people and they left quite an impression on you – it is quite difficult to describe really.
These people are always at the back of your mind and the memories come all year round, not just on Remembrance Sunday, just the simplest of things can trigger it. Some of the memories are just throw away and some are quite serious.
Things like the feeling of being thrown about in the aircraft while the pilot is taking evasive action from search lights. Or heading to the back of the aircraft to take oxygen to the rear gunner only to pass out yourself. I thought I was only out for a couple of minutes but I was down for 20 – it's lucky the pilot went down to 10,000 feet so I came round.
Remembrance is such an important day, it transcends every other thing. All those lives were lost for the freedoms we enjoy today. Some people do not realise they can do what they can because of the people who died during the war for them. I cannot understand their attitude of mind.
Former Flight Engineer Jack, now 97, flew 77 operations as part of the Pathfinder Force in Lancaster bombers during the Second World War. He was supported by the Fund earlier this year when we upgraded his kitchen and added an eye-level oven.
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.