This year the Coronavirus pandemic has hit many of us hard; leaving all of us to deal with many complex personal and professional problems. The virus has also impacted greatly on the vital work performed by the Royal British Legion; many Remembrance events will now not take place, and many of the best opportunities for fundraising have been prevented, including the significant contributions made by our cadets and adult volunteers.
During this difficult time, it’s important we do not forget what we owe our armed forces and our veterans. In support of this community, the Royal British Legion provides lifelong support to serving and ex-serving personnel as well as their families.
Peterborough 1915; Men of the Cambridgeshire Regiment preparing for war. Many of them would never come home.
Our region has contributed greatly to our Armed Forces and continues to do so today. During the First World War, our county Regiment – the Cambridgeshire Regiment – was part of the Territorial Force, whose members were not required to serve overseas. Despite this, many volunteered for overseas service and 876 of them did not return. Many local men served in other Regiments, including the Suffolk Regiment (the nearest Regular Army Infantry Regiment) which suffered significant losses on The Western Front and around the world. During the Second World War, men (and women) from our region again served on all fronts in different regiments and branches of the Armed Forces. The Cambridgeshire Regiment was captured almost in its entirety at the Fall of Singapore in 1942, with prisoners then enduring years of Japanese captivity and thousands never returning. Men and women from the region have served, risked their lives and suffered losses in many post-war conflicts around the world. This includes many of our own adult volunteers who have previously served in the Armed Forces or continue to do so.
Mortar team of The Royal Linolnshires, one of the Regiments later amalgamated into the Royal Anglian Regiment, Palestine, 1936.
Although the Cambridgeshire Regiment ceased to exist in 1961, Cambridgeshire Army Cadet Force is a surviving link with that organisation through our shared history and (former) wearing of their cap badge. We proudly maintain this legacy today through Remembrance events and our continued wearing of their blue and black Tactical Recognition Flash. Cambs ACF maintains close links with many current Army regiments especially our local infantry regiment - the Royal Anglians.
3 R Anglian on COVID-19 Mobile Testing Unit, 2020.
Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium, and Lochnagar crater memorial, The Somme. Pictures; Doug Stuart
The work performed by our Armed Forces, and the sacrifices they make, must never be forgotten. We can all show our support – and our determination not to forget – by standing in silence on our doorsteps at 11pm on November 8th, wearing a poppy, or by making a donation to the Royal British Legion.
An adult instructor holds crosses dedicated to the Cambridgeshire Regiment, Ely Nov 2019. Picture; Doug Stuart
Text by P.I. Doug Stuart
Here are some links to make donations to the RBL.