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No glory in war

THIS Sunday sees the 100th anniversary of the armistice, ending the First World War. Last year a national newspaper said that a third of young people did not want to buy a poppy as it glorified war. How anyone could have gloried such a tragic and horrific conflict beggars belief. It does not glorify war, it serves to remind us that we are all here now, due to the sacrifices military personnel, some only lads in their teens, made a hundred years ago in the trenches with appalling losses of life.

I personally met two veterans from the 1914-18 war, one of whom was a friend of my father’s whom I knew as Uncle Harry. He never mentioned anything of the horrors he witnessed, despite being shot in the arm with the bullet coming out of his shoulder. He never had a trace of bitterness in him.

The other old soldier was a gentleman by the name of Percy Sapsford, aged 90, whom I met in 1976 while working as a reporter in Bishops Stortford. I asked him what emotion he felt when he heard the whistle and ordered to “go over the top.” He just replied: “You say to yourself, the best of luck boy.” He added that he thought that the world was coming to its senses. I hope he was right, when you look at other conflicts where soldiers, sailors and airmen - and women - lost their lives to protect this country. This was supposed to be the war to end all wars.

So my message as always is give for those who gave - if they hadn’t have given, you might not be here to make the decision to give; they had no choice.

Alan Thompson, Swindon

They died for freedom

It occured to me that perhaps we should pay for M Macron to take a trip around all the war grave cemeteries in France. Just so that he can see how many there are. This should be all of them. Both French and British. After all they all died for the same thing.

Perhaps after this harrowing experience he would hopefully appreciate just how much France owes to these poor British Tommies. Would he not feel any obligation as he gazes over these war graves?

I know when I saw them it left me awe. So peaceful and poignant. All our brave lads who gave their lives so France could be free of the oppressor. After this, could he in all honesty say that France owes Britain nothing? Many honest French people must be ashamed of his attitude.

We didn’t count the cost when we went to France, either fiscal or in deaths. We went because at that time the French were our allies and needed assistance.

Today Britain needs a little understanding and indeed assistance with regard to Brexit.

All those graves in France were because we believed in freedom. So perhaps M Macron should ask himself: “Just what did all those brave troops, both British and French, die for?” It would be nice to hear his answer.

David Collins, Blake Crescent, Swindon

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