This Sunday as I stand and hear the sermon, join the prayers and listen to the Last Post, I will be thinking of friends and colleagues with whom I served in Iraq and Afghanistan who did not come home, those whose funerals I attended, and I will be thinking of their families and loved ones for whom Remembrance is such a personal act.
Six weeks ago, I wrote: "We should be in no doubt: we, the West, are back in Iraq." And so it has come to pass. It is difficult to see how it could have been otherwise, once the murderers of Islamic State (or Isis or Isil, take your pick) started killing American and British journalists and aid workers on video. ... We have entered a bizarre Alice in Wonderland world in which Washington, Tehran, Damascus, Riyadh and Doha all seem to be lining up on the same side. The Saudis, Qataris and Emiratis even seem to have deployed some of their own aircraft, which I suppose at least proves that they do know what they're for.
What people might not realise, as I didn't, is housing's direct effect on mental and physical wellbeing. Without a fixed address, no surgeon would consent to perform the operations I desperately needed to move forward. Where could I have gone afterwards to mend? My doctors weren't convinced the sofa of a friend was an appropriate place to get better. And nor were my friends.
From evacuee in London at 11 years old, boarding a train to Sussex, adapting to civilian life, being fitted with artificial knees and walking the Great Wall of China with Queen Victoria's Great Granddaughter and raising over £20,000 to support the armed forces and their families. It is safe to say Norman Young, (Brigham) is an achiever, focused and determined individual.
The bottom line for us is providing support - support for those who have done or are doing their bit for our country, and their families, making sure that when they are in need, we are there for them. They have made their selfless contribution and the least that we can do is be there for them in return.
The Admirals would be better employed to argue that issue and the dwindling Navy fleet as a whole rather than engage in counter-productive political sorties. The latter are becoming a bad habit in London: the more it catches on the narrower the gap between No and Yes in the opinion polls pre-September 18.
Last week, the final tranche of redundancies within the British armed forces were announced. This fourth tranche, whilst it may have been expected, will still bring a new air of uncertainty to those finding themselves at risk. The announcement concerned specific time-lines, redundancy fields and the numbers to be cut.
One of the most common myths I want to debunk is that UAS are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians in Afghanistan. Let me be clear, the majority of civilian deaths in Afghanistan are caused by insurgents, not UAS. In over 50,000 Reaper flying hours, there has only been one single operation that resulted in the deaths of civilians.
One thing would definitely come out of the massive change that is needed, there would be a lot fewer news stories like this one. Because it is not the fact that three women got a compensation payment for injuries sustained whilst marching, it is the fact that they were treated differently to other military personnel that grabs the headlines.
It may be open and shut in the legal sense, but is not open and shut in the moral and ethical sense. The test maybe the law, but the proving ground is the battlefield. Now before you start getting all excited into thinking I am about to justify murder, wait one second and consider if you will some social mitigation.