Today I was honoured to take part in my sixth Remembrance Sunday civic ceremony since being elected as a councillor in 2010. During the First World War, over 760 people who lived in what is now the borough of Woking lost their lives in combat action, while around 800 Second World War deaths are recorded in the book of remembrance held at Woking library. Woking has strong links with the armed forces through the nearby Army Training Centre at Pirbright and the Brookwood Military Cemetery, which is the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the country and contains 1,601 burials from the First World War and 3,476 from the Second World War.
I thought the service was particularly poingant at a time when we recently marked the centenary of the outbreak of hostilities last year and when there has been renewed interest in the causes of the war and experiences of those who answered the call to serve their country. I was pleased to see so many members of the public attend to pay their respects, and was impressed by the discipline and good behaviour shown by the younger members of local organisations such as the Woking Sea Cadets, the Scouts, Guides and Boys’ Brigade, and the St Johns Ambulance Cadets.
With threats and instability in places as far away as Ukraine, Syria and Iraq, it is right that we remember those who have fallen in past conflicts and their contribution to creating a safer world for us all, while also ensuring that we treat the prospect of renewed war or military intervention with the seriousness it deserves.