On Monday I had the honour and pleasure of having lunch alongside a party of veterans, smart in their blazers and wearing various regimental badges and insignia of the British Legion. One was in the red coat of a Chelsea pensioner. All were in their eighties at the very least, and some were already centenarians. Men of all services were represented, and some wore medals too, including VCs and Military Medals and Crosses.

Imagine the tales they had to tell between them!  Although, like my own Dad, an RAF man who served in India and Burma, and a dear friend who flew Lancasters in Bomber Command, the stories they were willing to share with us 'youngsters' were probably the more light-hearted ones. The horrors many must all have seen were kept for their darker moments, to be shared only with comrades who would understand, without too many words, some of the trials they faced.

I could only stand and applaud as they filed slowly past to their event on another floor of the Civil Service Club in London. Such dignity. Such gentlemen.

I wonder what most of these men really thought of what the world and country they fought for has become? We should never, ever forget them and what they fought for.

On Monday, I was proud to be British.


yes ordinary men called to do extraordinary things and kill others for the common good. The sanatised stories they tell us, I guess they do not need to speak of to their comrades. The pride in being Brtish, alas, and with respect, I'd suggest is being turned into something hateful. That often happens when we've not had a World War to deal with. My fear is perhaps we'll have another one soon.