Apologies & Acknowledgements

2 news articles caught my attention today. The first that the Irish government have pardoned the Irish servicemen who during World War 2 left Ireland to join the British Armed Forces despite Ireland’s neutrality. These men were branded as deserters and on their return were banned from holding Government salaried jobs and stripped of their pension rights. The men and their families bore the stigma and discrimination for years. It’s right that they are pardoned and their service to our country be recognised.
The service of another group of men to our country was commemorated today when The Countess of Wessex unveiled a memorial to the “Bevin Boys” the 48000 men who during the war were conscripted to serve in coal mines rather than the armed forces. Their wartime role was undoubtedly as important as that of those who joined the uniformed services but has been largely unrecognised until relatively recently. The stone memorial at the National Arboretum alongside those to various regiments, corps and services is a fitting way to remember them.
Whilst most of The Bevin Boys & the Irishmen who were punished for joining the British Armed Forces are now no longer with us the servicemen & women injured in recent conflicts are very much still with us and deserving of our support. Headley Court, Tedworth House and the other centres that are part of the Defence Recovery Capability are practical places which celebrate the determination of these guys & girls to excel despite their injuries but we can acknowledge their sacrifice by supporting the centres and the charities that help these guys including BLESMA and Help for Heroes. You can pledge a few quid by visiting my fundraising page http://www.bmycharity.com/SimonWParistoLondonpedal or if you are in the South East on 2nd June come to London and see me and up to 1000 other cyclists arrive in London to acknowledge the service & sacrifice of our injured personnel and celebrate the fantastic work of Help for Heroes.

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