It’s imperative that the sacrifices made to the nation by our armed forces should never be forgotten, and that future generations are made aware of the respect they deserve. Remembrance Sunday, which takes place on the second Sunday of November, serves to ensure that this happens.
As in previous years, on Sunday people of all ages across the nation paid tribute to the sacrifice and commitment of those who have served in our armed forces and remembered all those who have died for their country in the First World War and all wars since.
I too paid my respects by laying a wreath in my constituency,
A few days earlier, I took part in a Senedd ‘Remembrance’ debate in which I paid tribute to “all those who have fallen and those who have been injured, and all those who have paid a price in the conflicts that these islands that we live on have endured over the generations”.
During my speech I commended the myriad of fantastic organisations that are working across Wales to support our armed forces family and our veterans community: the Royal British Legion, Woody's Lodge, Caffinaafi, and many others.
I also applauded the excellent network of Armed Forces Champions in many of our public bodies across Wales, but expressed concern that we don't have enough people championing the Armed Forces Covenant in our National Health Service at the moment.
Further, I spoke of the need to remember the important role that employers can play in remembering those who have fallen in their organisations and supporting the veterans that work for them too.
I also referred to my position as a member of the board of the Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Association for Wales. They work very hard to ensure that people participate in the Employer Recognition Scheme, which is set up by the Ministry of Defence, and also other recognition schemes, such as the Armed Forces Schools Scheme.
Welsh Armed Forces have a deep and rich history. It is 334 years since the formation of the first regiments in 1689 that would later become the Royal Welsh, making it Wales’ oldest and most decorated military regiment. The regiment, in its various incarnations, has served in nearly every major campaign that the British Army has participated in. The Royal Welsh officially celebrated its 300th anniversary on the 7th September 2019 at Cardiff Castle, it is the Army’s most experienced armoured infantry unit and plays a central role in the only warfighting division at continual operational readiness in the UK.
In my role as Chair and founding member of the Armed Forces CPG, I have continually called for improved housing, health care, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder support for veterans over the years and more recently called for the creation of a National Museum for Military Heritage in Wales.
A National Military Museum is something that is missing from Wales at the moment, with nowhere for people to learn about the history of the Royal Air Force in Wales of the Royal Navy here in Wales. There are a number of army museums, but they do not act as a network, there is a possibility to give opportunity for those local and national stories to be told in terms of our military heritage here in Wales at a National Museum.
Wales has National Museums for wool, coal, slate and football, it’s time we had a military museum too.
We must all do more to remember and recognise the dedication and sacrifice that our armed forces make. Their professionalism and courage sets an example to young people across Wales and it is only right that we should show our appreciation and admiration by providing them with the support and top quality services they so deserve.