This weekend’s Remembrance Sunday marks the Centenary of the Armistice, which brought World War I to an end on the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month". Something in the order of 20 million lives had been lost, both military and civilian, with tens of millions more wounded and countless other lives scarred by the conflict.
Every year, across the UK, thousands of services are held to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their, and our, nation. Pendle’s towns and villages will host 15. I hope to be able to attend several of them and know many readers will be there too.
When you visit Parliament, as a number of Pendle residents have been doing recently, you cannot help but notice its many memorials for the two World Wars. For example, at either end of the Commons Chamber where MPs debate, there are coats of arms for all those MPs who died in service during the wars.
Lots of Parliamentarians did answer that call to fight. 264 MPs and 323 Lords served, with 46 giving their lives for their country. One who fought was Albert Smith, from 1910 to 1918 the MP for the old Clitheroe seat before representing Nelson and Colne until 1920. He served in the Royal Lancaster Regiment and returned to fighting in 1917 after having been injured in 1915.
Another was Gerald Archibald Arbuthnot, briefly the Conservative MP for Burnley in 1910. He died in 1916 during the Battle of the Somme, serving with the Grenadier Guards – one of 957,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers killed in the war.
As we remember those who fought 100 or more years ago, it is important to acknowledge those who continue to serve in modern conflicts. In particular, at this time of year I remember the families of Lance Corporal Michael Foley and Lance Corporal Jordan Bancroft, both killed in Afghanistan.
I know the prayers of all across Pendle will always be with them and their families. Whatever our opinions is of wars past or present, no one should ever forget the huge debt of gratitude we owe to our servicemen and women. I will be wearing my poppy with pride.