For the first time no one who had seen active service in the First World War was alive to mark Remembrance Sunday this year, and the number of those remembering action in the 1939-45 conflict decreases every year. But our Chaplains find that their services are particularly appreciated by our residents on this day.

One Chaplain tells of a resident for whom Remembrance Sunday has always been difficult. 65 years ago he was a member of a bomber squadron and but for a decision of his commanding officer he would have been in a plane that was shot down with no survivors.

The man who had taken his place and was killed had a wife and two young children. The Chaplain listened as the resident shared feelings of survivor guilt which are intensified every year around Armistice Day. He said later that it was the first time someone had listened to him without saying, “That’s in the past, forget about it.”

In another home the Chaplain introduced a short service on Armistice Day to include the two minute silence at 11am. A small altar table is set with a plain wooden cross and a poppy wreath. One year a series of poems written by combatants during wars including the First World War, Second World War and Afghanistan were read. Last year, stories of Chaplaincy from different wars were used, beginning with Woodbine Willie and ending with a moving story from a Chaplain in Afghanistan.

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