The independent London newspaper

Remembrance events matter

15 November, 2019

Veterans were among those who gathered at the Far East Prisoners of War memorial in Camden to pay their respects on Remembrance Sunday

• WE would like to express our feelings on Albert Beale’s opinions (We need to reject warfare, November 7), some of which we find offensive and untrue.

While we strongly agree that warfare should be rejected and the wearing of the white poppy is perfectly acceptable, we would disagree that “official events honour not those who died in war, but those who killed in war”.

Our mother, Joyce Maxwell MBE, was a war widow and a founder member of the War Widows’ Association of Great Britain.

She was married at 21 and widowed at 26, pregnant and already with two small children. In addition, she was profoundly deaf.

Our father, William, had been a PoW for three years and in the winter of 1944-5 was on a death march in Poland and Germany. Subsequently, he died of his injuries in 1950.

Each year we go to the War Widows’ Service at the Cenotaph the day preceding the national service, to honour our mother, who brought up three children, against the odds, as a single parent.

We also go in memory of our father, who did not join the British Army to kill people, but because as a young orphaned man in India, the army offered him both a future and the companionship of others.

We would like to say that neither service at the Cenotaph glorifies war or killing, nor do they condone or focus on “support for preparation for future wars”.

On the contrary, these services include all those who have died in conflicts, no matter what their backgrounds, civilian or military.

At both the Cenotaph services and doubtless countless others around the country, there are always prayers for peace.

Courthope Road, NW3


Share this story

Post a comment