Wednesday, 10 November 2010


It is often said that at 11 am on 11 November 1918 the guns fell silent, but this statement is deceptive. They did not stay silent for long. Since 1918 the British Armed Forces have been deployed on active service almost constantly somewhere in the world. Major actions in that time have been; 

1919/20 Military support to the Russian White Army in the Russian Civil War.
1919-23 Military action against rebels in the Turkish War of Independence.
1920 British Somaliland
1919-21 Irish War of independence
1919/20 Third Anglo Afghan War, the first had been in 1839-42, and the second 1878-80
Numerous actions on the North West Frontier of India in the Inter war years.
1936-39 Palestine uprising
1939-1945 WW2
1948-60 Malaya
1950-53 Korea
1952-60 Mau Mau war, Kenya
1956 Suez War
1962-66 Borneo
1963 Cyprus
1963-67 Aden
1969-2007, Op Banner, Northern Ireland
1982 Falklands War
1991 First Gulf War
1991-95 Yugoslavia.
2001- present, Afghanistan
2003- present Second Gulf War, Iraq.

There have also been numerous other minor deployments of varying degrees of activity, both overt and covert.

The bodies of British servicemen lie on every continent, though the traditional practice of burying soldiers where they fall has now been replaced by repatriation.

Here are a few more of their faces.

Wear a poppy.


  1. I agree entirely. I had an argument with one of the managers in my Trust a few years ago when I asked why he was not wearing a poppy. His reply was that he was "not prepared to partake in glorifying war" WTF!

  2. My grandfather who fought (and lost a leg) in the first world war would refuse to allow a poppy in his house. Would rip it from your lapel. He hated Haig so much for the death and suffering he caused. This has now become a family tradition, no-one wears a poppy........ but we remember.

    My sisters village got a new (female) minister a few years ago who refused to carry out a rememberance service as she would not glorify war. Was told in no uncertain terms that they were remembering the villages' dead and was reminded what her job was about.

  3. There's also Palestine after WW2, where my grandad was one of those serving and hoping not to be shot or blown up by the boys from the Irgun, though maybe that was a "police action" rather than a war.

    Re poppies, a tricky one. I wear one, but I understand why others don't. You can see me discussing it with my friend Prof David Colquhoun in the comments thread of my Nov 11th blogpost from last year

    Dr Aust