Episode 3 Remembrance Week


Episode 3

Gethin Jones is in Afghanistan to honour those that have fought there as well as reflecting on all the other servicemen and women who have taken part in past conflicts.


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Transcript


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This Sunday is Remembrance Sunday, and all week we will be hairg the

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heroic and courageous stories, in honour of the men and women who

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have given their lives, both here and in past conflicts around the

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world, this is remembrance - This Sunday is Remembrance Sunday,

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the Kay - day we honour those who have given their lives for their

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country. In the lead up to this National Service of Remembrance, we

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hear the real stories of the people who march past the Cenotaph at

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Whitehall. Coming up on today's programme, an

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RAF firefighter battles the biggest blaze of his life. I can remember

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stand standing in the middle of the stand storm, by myself, thinking I

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have all my boys and girls here. Brothers, Ernie and Len remember

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their adventures as merchant seamen. On the first day the last ships

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were sunk. I get manhandled here in Afghanistan. Search through the

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hair feeling for anything that shouldn't be there.

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Not everyone remembers the Aden emergency, but for one soldier in

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particular, it is a conflict he will never forget. In 1961, Brian

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Bryson never expected to go to war, let alone return a hero. But aged

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just 19 he decided to join the Royal Army Service Corps.

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training could be fun, at times, other times it was very serious,

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but you had to work hard, marching up and down, trying to be soldiers!

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I chose driving rather than infantry. It wasn't just driving a

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vehicle, you had to learn how to maintain it, how to strip parts

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down, and you drove different vehicles, took your driving test

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and that was you. You were then qualified.

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In 19678, Brian's regiment was posted - 1967, Brian's regiment was

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posted to Aden, known now as Yemen. I remember stepping off the plane

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when we got to Aden, very hot, 8.00pm, it was dark. We knew it was

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a hot place and in the Middle East, we knew what we were going in for.

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The British Government declared that'den would become independent

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by 1968. But as our troops began to withdraw, local unrest erupted

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between rival factions, as they fought to gain control. You didn't

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know the enemy, they didn't have a uniform, they could be down the

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side of the road, you didn't know. Under this constant threat, Brian

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still had a job to do, which was helping to build new roads, so

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local people could transport their goods to market.

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We worked with the royal engineers that were there, when they went out,

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we would then supply the wagons, ten-en toers to go out with them -

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ten tonneers, to go out with them, so when they were blasting through

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the rock they would put it on the back of the wagons, we would take

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it and dump it somewhere. That was basically what you done, you

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finished about 2.00pm, happy days. At night, when the troops relax,

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they weren't too bothered about the odd pot shot from the enemy. There

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was one night when we were watching a warry film, there was all the

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shooting going about, I said the shooting is getting a bit real now,

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I said there was bullet holes in the screen. We carried on watching

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the film. They were useless shots any way, most of the time. This

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would dramatically change when a simple mission went wrong for one

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of Brian's comrades. Travelling in convoy Brian and his

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team were making their way across open desert. I was walking and I

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was maybe 10, 15 yards away, next thing I heard was a big whomph, I

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spun round and looked at the Land Rover which was lifted into the air.

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The front wheel disappeared over the horizon, never saw that again.

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It all went very, very quiet. only person in the vehicle was the

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driver, Tony Fenemer, known simply as Brummie. I looked back at the

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Land Rover and I thought, where's Brummie. So I don't know, I just

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ran to the Land Rover. From the position that he should have been

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sitting in, the force of the explosion had put him across the

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front of the Land Rover seats. That's when I saw what his injuries

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were. Brummie was unconscious, and his left arm was severely damaged.

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As the first person on the scene, Brian did all he could to help him.

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We carried a first aid kit, bandages, I gave him morphine as

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well. You are saving a fellow human being and soldier. The medic came

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over, and the two of them they got a stretcher, took him out of the

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Land Rover, and then they just took him away. Brummie was airlifted to

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hospital, where his arm had to be amputated. It would be great to

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think that maybe I did help save his life in that instant. Just a

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couple of weeks later, Brian was able to check up on his patient.

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And I said what are you going to do, he said, he's going to drive

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lorries. I said oh, he said he will have his golden arm, his golden

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trigger and he will be driving lorries. That was what he was like.

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Beginning of June 1967, that was the last time I ever saw him.

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Brummie has still got that cheeky sense of humour, and 44 years on,

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he's finally on his way to meet Brian, the man who helped save his

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life. Whatever happened, that day, that

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week, or two weeks before, has been shut away. Because I don't remember

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even the build-up to it. Just that drive through, that is all I

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remember. I need the gaps to be Did you get to drive that lorry?

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Yes. If it wasn't for you, and what you

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are going to tell me. Thank you for surviving. I was determined to

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survive. Thank you. I wouldn't have changed it, you were one of mine,

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it was a pleasure,s if great to see him again.

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I think it is important that the younger generation realise what

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Remembrance is all about. It is not just parading with Stards and

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laying poppy wreaths, because every pop y... Represents blood, given by

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the men and women of this country, in conflicts throughout the years,

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we should never, ever forget that. One of the reasons our troops are

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in Afghanistan, is to gradually allow the local communities take

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responsibility for their own security. One of the ways they are

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doing this, is by mentoring the Afghan police.

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I'm on my way out of Camp Bastion, to a police headquarters, located

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near a village called ping ping - Pinkalay, in Helmand Province.

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Today an initiative is nearing completion, that has helped bring

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greater security to the local people. This headquarters is the

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hub of British army efforts in the area.

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Captain Giles Walsh leads a dedicated team of British mentors

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who live and work alongside the Afghan police.

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Tell me what your role is here? aim of myself and my team is to

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provide development to the police, so that when we eventually withdraw

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in 2014, they will be able to stand on their own two legs and be self-

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sufficient and survive themselves. Since you have been here, how have

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you seen this area change for the better? A year ago, there was

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fighting in the streets of Pinkalay, and now, the police can walk around,

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unarmed, and they are very much central to the local community.

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British military have been passing on their expertise to the Afghan

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security forces since 2009. One of the most important, yet basic

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lessons they teach, is how to conduct an effective search. A lot

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of the bomb making equipment is moved in by local, hidden on their

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person. We are improving the capability of the police to uncover

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these component parts. These hidden components can be anything from a

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length of wire, to a battery. Finding them before they can make

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their way into a bomb can save lives.

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I have been asked to help Lance Corporal James Alldread, and I may

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have a little surprise up my sleeve. Just give you a quick demonstration

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on how to search someone. Search through his hair, feel through his

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scalp for anything you can feel there. Smooth down, not a pat down.

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Every crease and fold just be meticulously searched. That is the

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top half, now the bottom half, searching there. Obviously we found

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something. What is that Just a bit of wire for farming I'm doing.

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kind of farming? Sheep warming? Sheep farming with wire. The story

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doesn't add up, we take that from him, that will go in plastic bag.

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It's training exercises like these that will prepare the Afghan forces

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for when the British leave in 2014. These newly trained policemen

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operate from ten road side checkpoints. They are critical for

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security, preventing the free movement of insurgent fighters and

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suicide bombers. There is only one way of finding out what the

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checkpoints are really like, that is by going to see them myself.

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Which is exactly what I'm going to do now.

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As soon as we leave the gates of the compound, which have - which we

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have just done, basically anything can happen. For the troops who make

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this journey every day, this may seem routine, for me it is deeply

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unnerving. It is when you start going off

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beyond the realms of the main service routes that it actually

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starts to get a bit dicey. We're seen as the outsiders, that we are

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always going to be targeted,en to extent. We have arrived at Check

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Point Sapan, it is being built to protect the local village and

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farming community. Getting out the back of that

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vehicle was weird, it is a real sense of reality. It is a real

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situation. Everyone here is aware of where they are. Hello. Nice to

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meet you. Just the final snagging done today, and should be complete

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in ten days. The men based here will search

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suspect vehicles and individuals. This is one of many checkpoints

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that the Afghan National Police are taking over throughout Helmand

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Province. This checkpoint is like a fortress, it is a real statement,

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one to the insurgents, to say stay away from us, and secondly, and

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most importantly, it is to say to the local people that we are here

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for you, and we are going to look out for you and keep you safe and

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secure. Whilst we have made good progress,

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there is still a significant way to go before they are ready to take

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over by themselves. It is very fulfiling just seeing the police

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are willing to actually improve themselves and are keen to develop.

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Getting medical help to injured troops, in any war zone, is vital,

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and it was no different during World War II, when a group of

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courageous men and women were risking their lives to get help to

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others. And one of these amazing women, was

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88-year-old Lillian West, who like her comrades, had one priority.

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make sure we would get them back to fight again for their country.

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In 1944, RAF nurse Lillian volunteered to join the air

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ambulance, which would send her straight into the heart of occupied

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Europe. I mean I had never been abroad

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before, I had never been out of Wales before. And then to go to

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France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, well, well, a young girl of 19, who

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was I going to see? A Frenchman? was an extraordinary step for this

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ordinary girl from Wales. It is now or never! I have signed, I have to

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go, that was it. Went in and got kitted out, got my trousers on, got

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my flying jacket, and everything else what I had to do. Lillian and

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the crew flew in unmarked Dakotas, flying to the frontline meant they

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were always in danger. My, we were shot at, the Germans shot at us. It

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was frightening, but there was nothing we could do. We were

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thinking, oh my God, if they do a direct hit, what will happen to us

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now. They try to fly as level as possible, because of the injured.

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Because if you have a Stuka coming after you, you had to dive, and

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that was it. With limited medical supplies, the nurses had to care

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for the wounded as best they could. That was all we could do. We

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escorted them from the battlefield, give them comfort, whatever was

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needed, until they reached England. One orderly per plane, that was our

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job. With thousands of injured troops needing the aid, the job was

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often relentless. We flew night and day, there was nothing for it, you

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see. You had to go from England in the morning, four hours, five hours,

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to get to Germany, then get loaded and get back, it was eight to ten

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hours. We had no parachute, no nothing, we were not allowed to

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carry a parachute, because the plane if it went down we had to

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stay with the patients. Lillian's first flight across the

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channel would be her most memorable. When the pilot delivered unnerving

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news. Hold tight, he said, we have a burst tyre, landing. Don't worry,

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it's already he says he knows what he was doing, he z but he crash

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landed. The plane landed in a French field, thankfully all the

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crew were safe. He said, we can't take her back, we will have to wait

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for replacements. Lillian was stranded for a week, when she

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returned home, her family were surprised. My mother said, it's you

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is it. I said, yes, why? She said we had a telegram to say you were

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missing presumed dead in France. Oh, I said I'm alive, I said, it's all

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right. I said I think I am! wasn't long before Lillian was back

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on duty, and caring for critically injured men. Head injuries, chest

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injuries, broken arms. Shrapnel through the bodies, you would never

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believe what some of our boys went through. You would never believe it.

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But Lillian and her comrades also added a personal touch. We used to

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write for them, if they wanted a letter, you know, just would you

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write a few lines for us, and get them posted or anything like that.

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I used to think, if some poor mother's son, or some woman's

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husband. You had to feel sorry for them, there is nothing else for it.

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Just pray to God that I could get them back safe. This courageous

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group became known as the Flying Nigtingales, the first air born

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medal evacuation service - air bourne medical evacuation service.

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We brought back 100,000 between us all. For Lillian, it is a job she

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will always look back on with immense pride. It was a tough job.

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But there you are. They were other people had tougher jobs. The boys

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had tougher jobs with fighting, weren't they.

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I was serving my king and country. If I was young again I would go

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back and do the same thing again. Still to come, we join a school

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outing, as they visit the hub of remembrance in Edinburgh.

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It is important to remember all the people that sacrificed their lives

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and still sacrifice their lives today. When a fire starts in the UK,

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you pick up the phone and dial 999, out here, in a war zone, in the

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middle of the desert, it is not so straight forward. For 34 years,

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Steve Bowden has been a Royal Air Force firefighter. An RAF

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firefighter is a special breed of individual. We do the same as

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civilian firefighters, but the main focus is the rescue of air crew,

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that is what we do 24/7. Formed after the Second World War in 1945,

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RAF firefighters have been saving lives around the world.

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And out in Afghanistan, they work closely with our American allies.

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It is a case of helping each other out, because there is only them,

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and there is only us, and that's it, there is no 99, nobody will come -

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999, nobody will come screaming around the corner in a big red

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lorry. In April 2010, Steve was based in Camp Bastion, when a call

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came through that would test his nerve and skill to the limit.

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particular evening I had my evening meal and was in the Internet cabin

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making contact with home, when one of my firefighters came and said

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you better come and have a look at this boss.

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The fire had started in Camp Leatherneck, an American base,

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located a couple of miles outside Camp Bastion. And this is actually

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what Steve saw. The plume could be seen for two miles or more. When

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you see that A smoke, you know, as they say, it's a goer.

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It is a firefighters' worst nightmare, because you have no idea

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what you are going in to. After summoning the team, Steve was the

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first on the scene. There was an American colleague I touched base

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with, who was starting to give information of what was in there.

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Which went from dried goods, storage boxes, oxygen cylinders,

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petrol, oil and lubricants in containers, and stuff stacked on

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top of stuff. Not only is it that way but up as well. A strong wind

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was developing quickly, turning the fire into an inferno.

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The wind carried it on, and it was just setting fire to everything all

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the way along the line. The harsh conditions, that time of year,

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don't help because the sun, the climate, the wind, dries everything

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out, fabrics, wood, it is all tinter box dry. Soofr an arriving,

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they faced a main prob - soon after arriving, they faced a major

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problem, the water supply ran out. It is not the best time in my life,

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dealing with a fire and you have nothing to do. The danger was

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mounting as the fire was raging out of control. By then people were

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coming up and tapping me on theer saying, by the way, we have this in

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there as well, and you might want to know there is fuel on there as

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well, there is a little fuel farm here. All of this is going on while

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you are standing there with no water.

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Finally water arrived from nearby sources. But the danger to our

:22:34.:22:39.

troops on the ground was becoming an alarming reality.

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We had to make sure people were getting away for their own safety,

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it was becoming blatantly obvious there was a lot of stuff in there

:22:48.:22:52.

dangerous. Tyres going up and down in the air, as with the

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firefighters, and the oxygen cylinders, exploding, going up in

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the air. You have no idea where they are going to land, that is

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frightening. Whilst the fuel out of the 45 gallon drums will have gone,

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the 45 gallon drum weighs a lot, if that hits you on the no nogin you

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know about it. 45 minutes later another catastrophy struck.

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60knot duststorm came through the whole area. You couldn't see your

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hand in front of your face. The wind then changed and some of the

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accommodation, which our American colleagues were in, is tented

:23:33.:23:37.

accommodation, that started to catch fire as well, people had to

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be evacuated. Areas that weren't on fire, sort of got themselves

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involved in the fire by mother nature. That wind, was taking all

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the embers across Leatherneck and Bastion, it became too dangerous to

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do anything, we withdrew, that was not an easy decision for any of us

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to take. There is certainly a moment when I knew it was beating

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us. You think, what now? What will they give me now, what's next. To

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have no water, a sandstorm, limited resources, I mean, three of your

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worst nightmares. But with the fire now covering the area of three

:24:19.:24:24.

football pitches, Steve had even bigger concerns. I can remember

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standing in the middle of the sandstorm, by myself, thinking I

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don't know if I have all my boys and girls here.

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We actually really got control of it, I guess, about 11.30, midnight.

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It is still going like a good'un, it is raging, but we have it where

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we want it. You just can't imagine You just couldn't imagine that 16

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hours we were here fighting this fire. Against all odds, Steve, his

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38 RAF firefighters and their American colleagues, tackled the

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blaze without a single loss of life. The team work between, not only my

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own firefighters, but the United States marine firefighters,

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outstanding, we don't see it as them and us, it is us. That is what

:25:27.:25:34.

enabled us to win that fight. Wherever you are in the world,

:25:34.:25:37.

whatever nationality, a firefighter is a firefighter, I'm just one of

:25:37.:25:43.

them. In the clear light of day, the

:25:43.:25:50.

extent of the devastation was obvious. And the actions of Steve

:25:50.:25:56.

and his team didn't go unnoticed by the general of the American marine

:25:56.:25:59.

cops. We could have had catastrophic loss of life, because

:25:59.:26:04.

of the way you fought that fire, we lost nobody. I can buy new things,

:26:04.:26:14.
:26:14.:26:16.

but I can't buy new people. There is no doubt the efforts of Steve

:26:16.:26:20.

and his team - there is no doubt the efforts of Steve and his team

:26:20.:26:25.

that night saved people. I have been a firefighter for 45 years,

:26:25.:26:32.

that fire at Camp Leatherneck was the biggest, and it is the biggest

:26:32.:26:38.

the fire force has fought in its history. On returning home Steve

:26:38.:26:43.

was awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal. I wear it with, not just for

:26:43.:26:46.

those 38 people, but the fire service as a whole, past and

:26:46.:26:55.

present. During the Second World War, it

:26:55.:26:59.

wasn't just the Royal Navy patrolling the oceans, there was

:26:59.:27:03.

another group of courageous seamen, without whom Britain would have

:27:03.:27:08.

struggled to survive. Brothers Len and Ernie, grew up

:27:08.:27:13.

around the Bristol docks, and it sparked a lifelong love of the

:27:13.:27:18.

ocean. A friend went off to sea, and he

:27:18.:27:23.

came back, and he had a lovely plastic belt, red, yellow and black,

:27:23.:27:27.

he said he bought it in America, I wanted to get one of those, I threw

:27:27.:27:34.

my job in and went on to the Norwegian ship, at 15, in 141.

:27:34.:27:39.

Len decided to join the war effort, and signed up with the Norwegian

:27:39.:27:43.

Merchant Navy, which, alongside ships from other nations, supplied

:27:43.:27:48.

Britain with vital goods during the war. The Merchant Navy brought all

:27:48.:27:53.

supplies of everything, fuel, gasoline, food, ammunition,

:27:53.:27:57.

whatever was needed, was brought to this country by the Merchant Navy.

:27:57.:28:02.

But for a boy who had never left home before, Len's first experience

:28:02.:28:11.

at sea was hard. We settled early, so the family never saw me go. I

:28:11.:28:14.

went to the lifeboat that evening, and cried my eyes out, I was home

:28:14.:28:18.

sick, I felt sick and I had a hole in my sock. What was in front of us

:28:18.:28:22.

I never knew, I never knew what the sea could be like, on the North

:28:22.:28:28.

Atlantic, and all those huge seas. The biggest seas we had seen was on

:28:28.:28:31.

the beach. Len soon found his sea legs and returned three months

:28:31.:28:38.

later with a different look. I had a stetson hat, a big jacket, and

:28:38.:28:44.

lumber Jack boots, I had. And 15 years of age, I must have looked

:28:44.:28:54.
:28:54.:28:55.

real stupid! It wasn't long before Ernie followed in his brother's

:28:55.:28:59.

footsteps. The conditions were tough. Our first trip it was

:28:59.:29:04.

horrendous ways, there was valleys and mountains. The ship would dive

:29:04.:29:08.

down into the valley, stick in, and then go up on to the wave and down

:29:08.:29:14.

we would go again. That went on for three weeks. My first job was an

:29:14.:29:20.

officers' mess boy, I had to be up at 5.30am, and take coffee to the

:29:20.:29:25.

bridge, and take the coffee down, and then I would have to help with

:29:25.:29:29.

the breakfast, help with the galley, they were hard times, but we

:29:29.:29:33.

survived. That is why Norwegian captains always ask for Bristol

:29:33.:29:38.

boys, because we were tough and very efficient in what we done. We

:29:38.:29:43.

didn't cause much trouble. Although they carried essential

:29:43.:29:47.

cargo, Merchant Navy ships had little protection against the enemy.

:29:47.:29:50.

We didn't realise what it was like at sea, people don't know, they

:29:51.:29:54.

knew nothing about the Merchant Navy. We had naval ships, they were

:29:54.:29:58.

there to protect us, they had the speed and the guns, we had one old

:29:58.:30:02.

gun on the stern, from the First World War, and one gunner, I

:30:02.:30:06.

suppose the merchant seamen were supposed to help with that. As they

:30:06.:30:09.

sailed unprotected through the Atlantic, the convoys were subject

:30:09.:30:16.

to the huge risk of attack from German u boats. You would have to

:30:16.:30:21.

go through - U-boats. You would have to go through three or four

:30:21.:30:26.

lines of U-boats, they were in an arc. That was all that worried

:30:26.:30:32.

Churchill, in the battle for the Atlantic. One thing would bring

:30:32.:30:36.

home the constant danger they faced every time they set sail. In 1942

:30:37.:30:40.

we were sailing on our own through the Gulf of Mexico, because the

:30:40.:30:45.

Americans wouldn't do escorts. a couple of weeks into their three-

:30:45.:30:51.

month voyage, they were torpedoed. I went across the bridge, and I

:30:51.:30:56.

bumped my head, back on the wheel, they stayed on the wheel. Ernie was

:30:56.:31:04.

in the cabin down below. It was about 6.00am. 5.00am. Time dims

:31:04.:31:09.

your memory. I remember a great big explosion, next thing I was thrown

:31:09.:31:15.

out of my top bunk, and on my mate in the bottom bunk ofg was on top

:31:15.:31:20.

of me, we had bleeding from the ears and nose. Order prevailed and

:31:20.:31:24.

we took off with the submarine chasing us for one hour. As we are

:31:24.:31:30.

getting close to the Mississippi Delta they gave up. Crossing the

:31:30.:31:36.

waters was treacherous, on the up side, they were seeing the world.

:31:36.:31:40.

Going into New York and seeing all the skyscrapers, we had never seen

:31:40.:31:44.

those before, and walking through Manhatten, into times Syntagma

:31:44.:31:50.

Sqare, and seeing the Camel Cigarette advert blowing out great

:31:50.:31:56.

terrific. New Orleans, that was a good time. I remember getting a

:31:56.:32:01.

great big piece of water mellon, five cents, I had never seen it

:32:01.:32:07.

before, it was great. You had to sit on the long tables with this

:32:07.:32:11.

water mellon round our ears, chewing away, beautiful.

:32:11.:32:15.

And travelling around the globe meant the temptation to bring home

:32:15.:32:24.

souvenirs was too great for Len. bought chairs back from Africa, a

:32:24.:32:28.

monkey back, and carpets from india, all the stuff I used to buy. One I

:32:28.:32:34.

am I had a whole tea chest full of food, and a Christmas cake from New

:32:34.:32:38.

York. Granddad had some of the cake it was too rich for him, nearly

:32:38.:32:42.

killed him. But like all merchant seamen, Len and Ernie were away for

:32:42.:32:49.

months on end, coming home was always special for their mother.

:32:49.:32:53.

She rushed down, and give us a cuddle. We didn't realise how much

:32:53.:32:59.

she missed us, a mother's love is so much in that. Especially if your

:32:59.:33:04.

two youngest sons and that. After we came back after being torpedos,

:33:04.:33:10.

she said thank God, you are not going back again are you? We said,

:33:10.:33:14.

yes, we are. Despite the crucial role the Merchant Navy played

:33:14.:33:23.

during the war, its work was widely overlooked. We had the biggest

:33:23.:33:25.

Merchant Navy at the beginning of the war, from the first day to the

:33:25.:33:34.

last day, ships were sunk. I think the last ship was torpedoed about

:33:34.:33:42.

10.45am. Over 2,000 merchant ships were lost, the Navy lost 200. Life

:33:42.:33:45.

as a merchant seaman was rough. People did not appreciate it, we

:33:45.:33:49.

just had one little badge, the officers had their uniform,

:33:49.:33:52.

otherwise you were not known, they thought you were stragglers, sort

:33:52.:33:59.

of thing, not doing your part. But we had some terrible experiences,

:33:59.:34:06.

and lost a lot of friends, lots of friends. 30,000 merchant seamen

:34:06.:34:10.

lost their lives, but without their contribution, Britain may never

:34:10.:34:17.

have won the war. For Len and Ernie, their team as sea farers will

:34:17.:34:25.

always have faegs time in their hearts. I Sir - a special time in

:34:25.:34:31.

their hearts. I Sir come-and-a-half gailted the world, beautiful ship,

:34:31.:34:35.

beautiful comrades. I enjoyed every day of it, even cold, wet, tired,

:34:35.:34:42.

wonderful life. The poppy is the ultimate symbol of

:34:42.:34:45.

remembrance, and there is a group of veterans who work throughout the

:34:45.:34:55.
:34:55.:34:56.

year to make their own personal contribution.

:34:56.:35:00.

The Lady Haig Poppy Factory in Edinburgh was established in 1946,

:35:00.:35:09.

and employed veterans of the British Armed Forces. Lady Haig

:35:09.:35:12.

decided to set up the factory to provide Scottish poppies for

:35:12.:35:17.

Scottish families. She started off with four men in a hut, by 1928 she

:35:17.:35:22.

was employing over 100 men. factory's founder put her own

:35:22.:35:27.

personal mark on what has become an iconic symbol of remembrance.

:35:27.:35:32.

Because lady Hague designed the original pop - Lady Haig designed

:35:32.:35:36.

the original poppies, her design was slightly different from down

:35:36.:35:42.

south. We have tried to continue that design difference over the

:35:42.:35:48.

generations. It is four-leafed rather than three, it is crimped

:35:48.:35:52.

rather than smoothed, it is a brighter material and doesn't have

:35:52.:35:57.

the green leaf the English one does. Uniquely the factory gives ex-

:35:57.:36:02.

servicemen and women, some of whom are disabled, the chance to work.

:36:02.:36:04.

It is incredibly important to offer employment to people that have worn

:36:05.:36:08.

uniform for their country, and made sacrifices themselves, and have

:36:08.:36:13.

struggled to find employment. has been part of the team for over

:36:13.:36:17.

five years, and for him, the factory is much more than just a

:36:17.:36:24.

place of work: I love the job, I love it, I know that every poppy I

:36:24.:36:28.

make could be a pound. For the war heros and things like

:36:28.:36:35.

that. Lots of the equipment we use is very old and quite basic, it is

:36:35.:36:40.

deliberately quite old and basic, because we want to employ as many

:36:40.:36:44.

ex-servicemen as we possibly could, we could automate processes, that

:36:44.:36:48.

would mean getting rid of the people we employ, that is not what

:36:48.:36:55.

we want to do. It is actually an old printing press, which I believe

:36:55.:37:00.

is between 100 and 150 years old. Andy operates one of the oldest

:37:00.:37:05.

machines in the factory, cutting hundreds of silk petals every day.

:37:05.:37:11.

I think the best thing about working here is the camaraderie, it

:37:11.:37:16.

is very much like a family. It is an excellent place to work. It is

:37:16.:37:21.

almost like therapy. Colin operates the petal crimping machine, and has

:37:21.:37:30.

worked at the factory for two years. Having served with the 3rd

:37:30.:37:35.

Battalion The Rifles, he finds himself with a new set of comrades.

:37:35.:37:39.

People sell you the service sense of humour is different, and a lot

:37:39.:37:42.

of us here wouldn't be in open employment, working here gets you

:37:42.:37:45.

out of the house, gets you working, brings home a wage, plus you have

:37:45.:37:55.

good fun with the guys as well. Every wreath and every poppy we

:37:55.:38:01.

make is made by hand. And every one is made with great care and a great

:38:02.:38:05.

eye for quality. The factory is open all year round to ensure they

:38:05.:38:10.

are able to meet the demands for the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal.

:38:10.:38:18.

We make 5.1 million poppies a year, we make about 28,000-long stemmed

:38:18.:38:22.

poppies. 10,000 wreaths a year. We also make the wooden crosses that

:38:22.:38:31.

people plant in the Garden of Remembrance each year. The factory

:38:31.:38:39.

opens its doors to visitors, which includes hundreds of schoolchildren.

:38:39.:38:44.

The veterans enjoy sharing their war stories, as well as teaching

:38:44.:38:47.

them the importance of the poppy. think it is really important that

:38:48.:38:52.

the children come here to visit the factory for a number of reasons.

:38:52.:38:57.

They need to learn a little about the horrors of the First World War,

:38:57.:39:05.

and that history needs to be kept alive. Touring the factory and

:39:05.:39:09.

meeting the veterans is a real eye- opener for the younger generation.

:39:09.:39:12.

It is fun coming to the Poppy Factory, because we come down and

:39:12.:39:18.

get to make loads of poppies. enjoyed making all those poppies,

:39:18.:39:22.

and also meeting all the ex- servicemen. They have been selling

:39:22.:39:26.

us some stories about why they are here and how things work and

:39:26.:39:29.

everything, it is really interesting.

:39:29.:39:31.

My favourite part about coming here is probably listening to the

:39:31.:39:38.

stories and making poppies. It is important for the children to come

:39:38.:39:43.

round, and can see men who have actually been in wars, like Ireland,

:39:43.:39:49.

and Afghanistan, even, and you have got to keep rembering. It is

:39:49.:39:53.

important to remember all the people that sacrificed their lives

:39:53.:39:57.

and still sacrifice their lives today to help give us the free

:39:57.:40:03.

country we have. I really did enjoy today, coming and learning about

:40:03.:40:09.

what they have to do, and what really the poppy means to Scotland

:40:09.:40:12.

and Britain. Remembrance means to me that eventhough people are still

:40:12.:40:16.

fighting today, and people have died, that just to remember them,

:40:16.:40:20.

because they have been fighting for the country and they are really

:40:20.:40:29.

important. Poppy Scotland, the charity mind the Poppy Factory,

:40:29.:40:34.

uses the funds raised to give money back to the Armed Forces community.

:40:34.:40:37.

Poppy Scotland will help absolutely anybody who is a member of the

:40:37.:40:40.

Armed Forces community. It could be somebody coming back from

:40:40.:40:46.

Afghanistan, a World War II veteran, their family and one of their

:40:46.:40:49.

dependants. We are making a difference to individuals who

:40:49.:40:53.

otherwise would be left aside. Poppy Scotland is there to support

:40:53.:40:57.

them whatever and whenever that need may be. Thanks to the

:40:57.:41:00.

generosity of the public, 2010 was a record-breaking year for the

:41:00.:41:06.

Scottish Poppy Appeal. This year we raised �2.34 million. It is the

:41:06.:41:09.

first time we have raised over �2 million through the tins. That

:41:09.:41:14.

allows us to improve somebody's quality of life. Every pound you

:41:14.:41:18.

are putting into the poppy tin to buy a Scottish poppy, that poppy is

:41:18.:41:26.

hand made in Scotland by a Scottish veteran. I'm incredibly proud of

:41:26.:41:29.

being involved in the factory, it is a unique organisation, and we

:41:29.:41:35.

are a real power for good in the sector in which we operate.

:41:35.:41:42.

It is fantastic and happy place to work, it does terrific good work.

:41:42.:41:48.

I really do enjoy it. I have never been so happy in a long time.

:41:48.:41:51.

definitely like a family, there is no getting away from that. It is

:41:51.:41:57.

lovely. I'm very, very proud of it, very proud. I hope it goes on

:41:57.:42:04.

Gethin Jones is in Afghanistan to honour those that have fought there as well as reflecting on all the other servicemen and women who have taken part in past conflicts around the world.


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