We come together annually as a community on Remembrance Sunday to remember and honour members of the Armed Forces who have given their lives, or whose lives have been irreversibly changed, in the service of our country. This year’s act of Remembrance will be very different due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic but we appeal to everyone not to forget this day and to donate generously towards the work of the Royal British Legion.
The Royal British Legion was established in 1921 to support our Armed Forces community wherever and whenever there is the need. It is the country’s largest Armed Forces charity with 235,000 members, 110,000 volunteers and a network of partners and charities, helping to reach out to veterans both young and old and their families. Your generosity in supporting the Poppy Day appeal helps them to continue their invaluable work in recognising the debt we owe to our Armed Forces both serving and ex-serving. Their work ranges from helping a young soldier overcome the effects of PTSD to installing a stair lift in the home of a World War II veteran.
A Personal Story
Sidney Downer is the 98 year old father of one of our residents and lives locally at the Cedars Retirement Village in Chorleywood.
He joined the Royal Navy as a rating on 4 November 1941 at the age of 19 and was part of the North Atlantic, Icelandic and Mediterranean convoys. Promoted to Sub-Lieutenant RNVR on 1 October 1943 he went on to serve on HDML 1410 as 1st Lieutenant and Navigator. The ship played a crucial role in Operation Glimmer, acting as part of the decoy force that attempted to draw the Germans away from the actual site of the D Day Landings on 6 June 1944. To mark the 70th anniversary of D Day, the French President awarded France’s highest decoration to D Day veterans as a way of honouring and thanking them for their brave contribution to the liberation of France. Sidney was made a Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur in 2014.
The Royal British Legion played a major role in organising the celebrations for the 75th anniversary of the D Day Landings and Sidney was one of those on board the cruise ship Boudicca as it visited the site of the Normandy Landings and returned to a tumultuous welcome and celebration in Portsmouth. The RBL were also planning a large celebration in London to mark 75 years since VE Day on 8 May this year but, sadly, the event had to be cancelled due to the Covid 19 lockdown. Their work has never stopped however and Sidney has received regular calls from RBL volunteers to offer him assistance during this challenging period and to be a friendly voice to chat to. He may not be able to look forward to the usual Christmas party with carols held at the local RBL branch but he is certainly hoping that they will continue to send out their much appreciated Christmas hampers!!
A moment of reflection: during a family Zoom session on the 75th anniversary of VE Day, one of his great grandchildren asked Sidney what he thinks of during the two minute silence. “I think of my comrades who never came home, the oil covered seamen I helped to drag from the sea, young lives lost and the moments of danger I faced when the ship was mined, bombed and fired at. Most of all, I reflect on how fortunate I am to have survived and how the sacrifice of so many allowed my family and me to live our lives in freedom.”
This year’s act of Remembrance will be very different due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic but we appeal to everyone not to forget this day and to donate in support of the work of the Royal British Legion who help veterans in so many vital ways. Bearing in mind the Poppy appeal in any public places will not be allowed this year. Moor Park (1958) Limited, together with the Moor Park Residents Association has created a Just Giving Page, set up for donations to go to the 2020 Poppy Appeal.
We aim to raise £1000.00 which is just £2 per household in Moor Park. Let's come together to achieve this if not surpass it!