Our RAF Cadet Force delivered a moving and reflective Remembrance event, commemorating the centenary of the end of the First World War.
You can read the full text of the ceremony below.
CC Welcome address.
Before the Great War started there were several alliances between various nations on the European continent. These alliances promised that nations would help other nations if they were attacked. There was already a lot of tension between the Austro Hungarian Empire and Serbia over the Austro-Hungarian empire taking control of Bosnia which the Serbians believed to be their land.
This combined with the nationalistic ambitions of countries like Germany combined with fierce military competition for dominance, left the continent as a powder keg ready to explode. The fuse was lit when the Arch Duke Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was assassinated by the Serbian militant Gavrilo Pricip.
After a series of demands and counter demands between the Serbia and Austro Hungarian empire, the Austro-Hungarian empire declared war on Serbia on the 28th July 1914. On the 2nd of August Germany signed a secret treaty with the ottoman empire before invading Belgium as part of a plan to invade France. To counter this Britain, in support of France as part of an alliance, declared war on Germany. Due to the various alliances these declarations included those within each alliance as well. The outcome was the First World War.
Cadet 4 and 5
WW1 by numbers.
- The first British Soldier was killed on the 21st Aug 1914.
- The number of minutes left to the Armistice starting at which the last allied soldier was killed
- The distance in metres between the graves of the first and last man killed during the war.
- The average life expectancy of a Soldier in weeks
- The age of the youngest known soldier killed (a Serbian boy)
- The age of the youngest known British Soldier
- The age of the youngest known Allied soldier killed.
- The official age you could join the British Army
- The percentage of casualties caused by shellfire
6000 – The average daily number of soldiers killed per day
60,000 – The number of casualties on the first day of the battle of the Somme. 20,000 of these were killed.
908,371 – The number of British soldiers killed during the war. Equivalent to the entire populations of Glasgow and Coventry
2,090,212 – The number of British wounded during the War. The equivalent of the entire populations of Birmingham, Manchester and Sheffield.
8.9 Million – The number of British and Commonwealth Soldiers mobilised during the War. The equivalent of the entire populations of London and Glasgow combined.
Identified as the only flower that grew on the battlefields amid the chaos of War. John McCrae wrote his poem “In Flanders Fields” after the death of a friend and was inspired by the sight of these poppies. This in turn inspired an American academic called Moina Michael to create a Silk poppy to be sold. A French woman called Anna Guerin brought these Poppies to England to sell. In 1921 the newly formed British Legion ordered 9 Million to sell on Nov 11thof that year to raise funds for Veterans to help with employment and housing. These sold out almost immediately. The first poppy day appeal.
In Flanders Fields by Lt Col J McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
The Two Minute Silence
The normal was for a minutes silence, but it was recognised that the first minute should be for those who fell during the war, and the second minute should be to remember all those who were left behind.
All stand please to remember.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.”