13/07/2017 House of Commons


13/07/2017

Live coverage of the day's proceedings in the House of Commons, including a general debate on the commemoration of Passchendaele, the third battle of Ypres.


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gave their lives a century ago for the freedom they enjoy, will have

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the decency to do so quietly. We now come to the general debate on

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the commemoration of Passchendaele, the third battle of Ypres. Just

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before I call the Minister to introduce the debate, I would most

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unusually like to welcome to the Palace of Westminster the two police

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officers who apprehended the murderer of our late colleague Jo

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Cox. Craig Nicholls and Jonathan Wright are here with us and we would

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like to welcome them and commend them for their bravery.

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And it is fitting that we should do so as we are about to have a debate

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commemorating those who gave their lives for freedom and democracy.

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Minister Mr John Brennan. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. And I would

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like to reiterate your words of welcome to Mr Nichols and Mr Wright,

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and I'm sure the whole house are very pleased they are with us today.

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I beg to move that this house has considered the commemoration of

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Passchendaele, the third battle of Ypres. The commemoration of

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Passchendaele is just one of the National events in our First World

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War centenary programme as announced by the previous Prime Minister in

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2012. This four year programme has seen us deliver national events to

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mark the centenary of Britain's entry to war on the 4th of August,

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1914. With the service for the Commonwealth at Glasgow Cathedral

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and at Westminster Abbey, and in April 2015 we marked the Gallipoli

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campaign in Turkey and at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.

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Can I also congratulate the two police officers for their bravery?

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Does the Minister have any plans to come -- any other plans to

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commemorate battles? That is something I will consider but no

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immediate plans. Last year and made the we commemorated the famous

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Battle of Jutland with events in Orkney and one month later on July

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one. We remembered the Battle of the Somme with national events in

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France, London and Manchester. Overnight vigils were held at

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Westminster Abbey and in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast and replicated

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in local communities across the UK. Before I go on, I would like to

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acknowledge the huge support of my honourable friend the member for

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South West Wiltshire, who has shaped and steered the centenary programme.

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He is a hugely valued colleague and my Parliamentary Labour. It is also

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an opportunity for me to congratulate him on his appointment,

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his election to the chairmanship of the Northern Ireland Select

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Committee. If he brings the integrity, wisdom and hard work to

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the role he has had on this project, the House will be very well served.

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In addition, you would like to thank the members of the Secretary of

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State's First World War centenary advisory group and provided vital

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advice and guided my department through the programme every step of

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the way. I was tempted to name all of them, but there are too many, but

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I would like to put on record the gratitude of the Government for

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their work. In just over two weeks' time, we will deliver our next

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commemorative of end. Officially known as the third Battle of Ypres,

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Passchendaele is one of the most famous battles of the First World

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War. I will certainly give way. I'm very grateful to the Minister

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and I would also add my commendation to the actions of the police

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officers here. The South Wales Regiment had heroism at

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Passchendaele and had members of my constituency. But also, those

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soldiers were also lost in the days leading up to the battle. The second

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battalion Monmouthshire Regiment moved up to the forward line on the

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29th in preparation for battle on the 31st. As we appropriately

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remember those who gave so much in the battle, we also remember those

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whose lives were lost perhaps through injuries in the days before

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as well. I'm grateful to the honourable

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gentleman for that contribution and with his customary eloquence, he

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makes a very wise point and it would be accurate in the sense that and it

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would be echoed in the sentiments across the House. The battle was not

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only famous, infamous, for the terrible conditions, but also for

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the scale of the losses. In the region of 250,000 Allied soldiers

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and around the same number of German soldiers, a total of at least half a

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million men on both sides, were wounded, killed or missing. Quite

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frankly, and believable numbers. -- unbelievable. Between July 31 and

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November the tenth 1917, this battle saw the British Army attempts to

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break out of the notorious Ypres assailant and troops from across

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Britain and Ireland took part, along with significant numbers from

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today's Commonwealth, particularly from Australia, Canada, New Zealand

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and South Africa. Allied air losses played an important role, providing

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vital reconnaissance. Sorry, Allied air forces played an important role,

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providing vital reconnaissance for the ground forces and fighting

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deadly dogfights with their German counterparts in the skies above the

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trenches. The battle was conceived in part as a means of influencing

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the struggle against German submarines and the Royal Naval

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division fought on the battlefields of Passchendaele alongside other

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soldiers. Many others contributed during the battle and in the

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fighting around Ypres during the conflict, including service men from

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India and the West Indies, labourers from China and of course the nurses

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and medical staff who worked behind the lines to treat the wounded. For

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all those who fought in that small corner of Flanders in the late

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summer and autumn of 1917, including in the Belgian French and German

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armies, it would prove to be one of the most gruelling experiences of

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the conflict. Much of the First World War's most enduring

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photography, poetry and art work was inspired by the desolate landscape

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which became a featureless quagmire over the course of the battle. After

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periods of intense rain, the Mont became so bad that men and animals

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could be swallowed up in the swamp. Images such as the photography of

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Frank Hurley or the evocative paintings of Paul Nash are a

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harrowing reflection of the utter devastation. Many families, villages

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and towns were touched by the fighting. In Wales, the battle is

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remembered partly for the loss of the renowned poet Ellis Evans,

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better known by his bardic name, who died on the opening day of the

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battle. May I first of all apologise to the ministers pushed up a will

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have to be briefly absent for part of the debate, but I will at the

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earliest opportunity. In light of what he said about photographs and

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knowing props are not always welcome in the chamber, can I showbiz of

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photographs that shows Passchendaele village in June 1917 and in December

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1917 -- can I show these photographs. From a distance, you

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can see how entirely the landscape was obliterated by the bombardment.

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I thank my right honourable friend for his very personal intervention.

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I think the House will welcome that. Order! The Minister is right, the

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House will welcome the honourable gentleman's illustration, but the

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House will note that is a good reason why we do not use props. In

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this exceptional circumstance, I have not stopped the honourable

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gentleman because I know that he has shown the book with the very best of

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intentions. I am not quite sure how Hansard will record a picture! But

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the Minister is right to note the honourable gentleman's point.

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Minister. Speaker. That day also saw the death of the Irish poet France's

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lead which. And it is important to remember that many of those who

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fought at Passchendaele were conscripts and this was a war that

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had already led to huge changes around these islands. Women were

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already playing a vital role in the war effort, particularly in the

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production of munitions for the artillery, which was so critical to

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the outcome of the fighting. And for many of us, Passchendaele has

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epitomised the horrors of trench warfare on the Western front.

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Does my honourable friend... He knows I am about to say recall that

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I presented to the city of Salisbury through him and the Wiltshire

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Regiment a bugle that was used by the first Regiment of the Wiltshire

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Regiment. And it was I understand now in the museum as a recognition

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and a memory of those people who fought in that wonderful battle.

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I am very grateful to my honourable friend for reminding me and the

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House of that kind gift. And I think it represents a platter of gifts and

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memories that many members of this House and many constituents have

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enough families concerning the First World War and the Second World War,

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and it is really important that we put those exhibits outbursts of the

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next generation can fully grasp what actually happened during this period

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of our history. I rise because of the description of

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this is a wonderful battle. To many of the people who were there,

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including my father, this was a terrible, terrible tragedy as a

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result of the misjudgement by the generals and others. We cannot look

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at this without remembering that many of those who lost their lives,

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they did not give their lives, they were told if they went there, they

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would stop the homes. They went that as a result of persuasion and

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propaganda -- three. To learn the proper lessons of warfare, we must

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remember that, and the immense wasteful loss of human life. Well,

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I'm grateful for the Underhill -- honourable gentleman's contribution

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and every member will have a different emphasis and

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interpretation of events and I hope the debate will give an opportunity

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to reflect in our own way on how we would wish to record events 100

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years ago. Let me now turn to national events. Three commemorative

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events will be held in Belgium on July 30 and the 31st 2017 at iconic

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locations where soldiers fought and died and died and they are

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commemorated. On Sunday, July 30, we will begin with the traditional Last

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Post ceremony in Ypres. This is one of the most iconic memorials. It was

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an honour those who are in the First World War. And it bears the names of

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more than 54,000 individuals who died there while serving with the

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forces of Britain, Australia, Canada, India and South Africa. But

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for whom there was no known grave. Designed by Sir Reginald Blom Gills,

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it is a remarkable monument and a fitting place to start proceedings.

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The Last Post ceremony has been held back every evening at 2,000 hrs

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since the railing of the memorial in 1927. With the exception of the

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period Second World War when the ceremony was held at Brookwood

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military cemetery near Woking. It is organised by the Last Post

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association and has been performed since origin. It will commemorate

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the history with Belgium. A UK military band and the nationally

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quiet of Scotland will perform. Reefs will be laid by

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representatives of 20 Tri Nations who fought during the war. 200

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invited guests will attend, as well as 200 descendants who were

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successful in a public ballot and whose ancestors were named on the

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many gate. After the Last Post ceremony, events will be how in

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Marco Square Ypres to an estimated audience of around 6,000 members.

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Here, we will creatively tell the story of the war in Ypres from 1914,

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with a particular focus on the third battle of Ypres of 1917. So

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projecting on the Cloth Hall, we will use a range of contemporary

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digital projection techniques to bring history to life projections

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which will enable the use of a broad of visual media from photographic

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and film archive, to animation. These projections will be supported

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by live readings of poetry and musical performance, including the

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orchestra and choir. The event will add a distinctive, engaging and

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contemporary element to the centenary programme which will help

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to reach a wider and I hope younger audience which is a key objective of

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the commemorations. So on Monday, July 31, exactly 100 years since the

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battle began, a national commemorative event will be held at

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the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Cemetery. And in terms

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of burials, it is the largest cemetery in the world. The final

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resting place of almost 12,000 Commonwealth servicemen of whom more

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than 8300 remain unidentified. I will certainly give way.

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I am grateful to my honourable friend. He has mentioned the

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Commonwealth War Graves Commission site at Ypres and another now. Will

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he join me in paying tribute to all of those not just in north-western

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Europe but around the world who maintain our Commonwealth War Graves

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sites with such dignity and so brilliantly maintain the memory of

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those who died in the service of our country?

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An extremely grateful to my honourable friend and I am about to

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do that, but he has spoken quite rightly about the enormous

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contribution they have made over the last 100 years.

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So it is the final resting place of nearly 12,000 Commonwealth

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servicemen, of whom are over 8000 remain unidentified and among them,

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four German soldiers. At the heart of the cemetery is the blockhouse, a

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formidable German fortification captured in the fighting and then

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used as a medical post. After the war, remains were brought there from

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around the surrounding battlefields, but most buried there were thought

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to have died during the third battle of Ypres. When the gate was

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constructed, its walls proved insufficient to bear the names of

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all the missing of the Ypres salient Soviet memorial wall bears the names

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of nearly 35,000 men who were killed after the 16th of August 19 17 and

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whose names are not known that. Thank you for giving way. If he

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troubled, as I am, by the inherent tension within the nation

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commemoration, commemorative programme for the First World War,

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between the need to remember the sacrifice of previous generations,

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the desire to instil in current generations the need for patriotism

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and potential sacrifice, but with the First World War the dreadful,

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needless mass loss of all life, in a way that is perhaps different from

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the Second World War? Well, I think that's a typically

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thoughtful representation of the challenge in getting these

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commemoration is right. I hope that the honourable gentleman will

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recognise that a lot of thought and work has gone into trying to get

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that balance right, and I hope when some of my colleagues, particularly

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the member for South West Wiltshire, contributes later, will understand a

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bit about how that has been balanced.

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So I just want to reflect, as I said I would, on the sea WGC, who

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commemorate the missing at the men in gate and is further 35,000 on the

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wall at Tyne Cot. When the names another nearby memorials are added,

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the number comes to some 100,000 soldiers who have no known grave.

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Numbers, I think, that are unimaginable in modern-day warfare.

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But following the ballot launched in January for free tickets, I'm

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delighted that around 3900% and guests will attend the event at Tyne

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Cot. The content and staging of the event will evoke, I hope, a strong

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sense of place, making full use of the poignancy and historical

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significance of the cemetery. There will be readings by military

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personnel and descendants, musical performances by UK military bands,

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acquire and solo performances and a formal act of remembrance. Readings

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of soldiers' recollections, and I read some poetry will tell the story

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of the third battle of Ypres, and the experiences of men who fought

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there. Content will reflect the contribution of men from across the

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UK and Ireland, as well as from the Commonwealth. In addition, from the

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29th of July to the 31st of July, the Passchendaele centenary

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exhibition will be held at Passchendaele Memorial Park. We have

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been working with the memorial Museum of Passchendaele and will

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include contributions from UK and Belgium museums. There will be art

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and artefacts, exhibitions, living history groups and areas for

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historical talks and musical performances in open and covered

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areas. The Passchendaele museum will also have an exhibition called,

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landscape of war, which will be open to visitors. At this point I would

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like to thank and acknowledge the help and support that although local

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organisations and local communities have given to us in and around Ypres

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and Zonnebeke in the planning stages. Their support has been

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invaluable and my thanks goes in particular to the mayors in

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Zonnebeke. And visible from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission,

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which this year is celebrating its own centenary. This organisation is

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one of our key partners and does outstanding work in ensuring that

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1.7 million people who died in the two world wars will never be

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forgotten. They care for cemeteries are memorials at 23,000 locations in

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154 countries and territories around the globe, making sure that our war

:21:40.:21:46.

dead are honoured with dignity. Recently the CWGC launched a new

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scheme for interns who have been welcoming and guiding visitors at

:21:51.:21:56.

major cemeteries and memorials, including at Tyn Cot this summer.

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The military of defence, our key partners, contributing assets for

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these events. And the BBC will be broadcasting the events on both

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Sunday night and Monday. So our key themes across the entire First World

:22:13.:22:19.

War centenary programme of remembrance, youth and education. In

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terms of use and education, I'm really pleased the National youth

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choir of Scotland will perform at all three commemorative events and

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around 100 graduates of the National citizens service, aged 16-19, will

:22:33.:22:37.

be part of the delivery team at the commemorations. The graduates have

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undergone an educational programme about the First World War in

:22:41.:22:47.

preparation... I would be happy to give way.

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Thank you for giving way on what he has presented to the House. I

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completely agree, if any right and fitting we should commemorate the

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loss of life that Passchendaele. Woody answer the question about the

:22:57.:23:00.

role of medical profession after Passchendaele and much of the trench

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warfare of the First World War? Given the fact we are commemorating

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those who lost their life, those who came home would have suffered, many

:23:08.:23:13.

of them, from shellshocked and so many advances in psychology were

:23:14.:23:16.

learned on the front line. Will it play any part in the commemoration

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of those who survived? I think that in the way we remember

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these events now, given the understanding we have now of many of

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the impact of war psychologically, we will have those things in mind.

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It is very, very difficult to go back and reinterpret events as they

:23:38.:23:40.

were at the time and as they were experienced at the time. But I think

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the honourable gentleman makes a very perceptive and worthwhile

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point. I would like to add the Royal

:23:48.:23:52.

British Legion's National Memorial in Staffordshire is holding a

:23:53.:23:55.

special service on the 31st of July and will include a broadcast on

:23:56.:23:59.

large screens of our national event taking place at the Tyne Cot

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Cemetery. Members across the House are encouraged to attend this free

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event if they can, and encourage their constituents to do so as well.

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More Victoria crosses were won on the first day of the Battle of

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Passchendaele than any other single day of the battle in the First World

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War, and 61 VCs were awarded in the campaign as a whole. All 61

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recipients will be honoured with a commemorative paving stone in the

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town of their birth on the anniversary of the action for which

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the Victoria Cross was awarded. The commemorative paving stone

:24:32.:24:38.

initiative forms part of the centenary programme and in the case

:24:39.:24:41.

of the men born overseas, their commemoratives paving stones have

:24:42.:24:44.

been placed at the National Memorial argument. Passchendaele also a

:24:45.:24:52.

medical officer received his second Victoria Cross. On the evening of

:24:53.:25:00.

Passchendaele he was wounded but under heavy fire and in appalling

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weather, he continued to search no no man's land to search for the

:25:06.:25:12.

wounded. Whilst taking a rest is first aid post it was struck by a

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shell. Although he had at least six injuries he managed to crawl away

:25:19.:25:24.

and was picked up and taken to the clearing station where he died on

:25:25.:25:28.

the 4th of August, 1917. We are also supporting Passchendaele at home, in

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partnership with the big ideas company. They are over 400 graves in

:25:35.:25:39.

the UK, very likely to belong to service men injured at the Battle of

:25:40.:25:42.

Passchendaele, who died of their wounds afterwards. The project will

:25:43.:25:46.

work with schools and communities across the country to identify

:25:47.:25:50.

graves in their area and to find out more about the brave men who fought

:25:51.:25:56.

at Passchendaele. So as you have heard, and I hope you agree, these

:25:57.:26:03.

commemorative events, Madam Deputy Speaker, to mark the Battle of

:26:04.:26:06.

Passchendaele, will be both educational and poignant and help us

:26:07.:26:12.

to reflect on this terrible war and battle 100 years ago.

:26:13.:26:17.

The question is this house has considered the Battle of

:26:18.:26:24.

Passchendaele, the third Battle of Ypres.

:26:25.:26:30.

Thank you Madam Deputy Speaker and can I thank the Minister for his

:26:31.:26:33.

speech and take this opportunity to welcome him to his new post. And

:26:34.:26:39.

also, may I add on behalf of Her Majesty's official opposition, their

:26:40.:26:44.

gratitude and thanks, although they have left now, the two police

:26:45.:26:48.

officers who helped apprehend the killer of Arbilla beloved late

:26:49.:26:52.

colleague, Jo Cox, whose plaque is now here behind me and rightly

:26:53.:26:58.

standing with all the plaques of honourable members who gave their

:26:59.:27:03.

lives on behalf of the country in previous conflicts, including the

:27:04.:27:07.

First World War. And across this house, we are immensely grateful for

:27:08.:27:11.

the opportunity to commemorate Passchendaele, the third Battle of

:27:12.:27:15.

Ypres, and the chance to speak of our military history, of Armed

:27:16.:27:19.

Forces community and the sacrifices made and are still being made on our

:27:20.:27:25.

behalf. I would like to take this opportunity also, on behalf of the

:27:26.:27:29.

official opposition, to pay tribute to those who had served in our Armed

:27:30.:27:34.

Forces and those who continue to serve in our Armed Forces. We are

:27:35.:27:37.

all grateful for their courage, as they serve to keep us safe.

:27:38.:27:43.

As we have heard, the Battle of Passchendaele stretched from July to

:27:44.:27:49.

November 1917, as the Allied forces and the German Empire battled for

:27:50.:27:53.

control of the ridges around Ypres on the Western front. It was the

:27:54.:27:59.

first major British offensive on Ypres and the stalemate of the

:28:00.:28:02.

Battle lasted for months, marked by battles within the battle.

:28:03.:28:13.

Casualties on both sides, as we heard, difficult to calculate, but

:28:14.:28:17.

well over half a million casualties when counted together, and yet the

:28:18.:28:21.

village of Passchendaele itself was only five miles away from the

:28:22.:28:27.

starting point of the Allied forces' action.

:28:28.:28:30.

The battle, as we've heard, is notorious, not just for its number

:28:31.:28:33.

of casualties but also for the conditions in which the battle was

:28:34.:28:38.

fought. The first few days of the offensive were marked by the

:28:39.:28:41.

heaviest rainfall in 30 years, turning the field into a quagmire

:28:42.:28:46.

which trapped soldiers and horses and immobilised weaponry. A century

:28:47.:28:52.

on, in the safety and grandeur of this place, it's difficult if not

:28:53.:29:00.

impossible to imagine the mud, the blood and the horror and the sheer

:29:01.:29:03.

scale of the losses of Passchendaele, but that is why it is

:29:04.:29:08.

absolutely right that we do remember. 325,000 Allied casualties

:29:09.:29:15.

is difficult to comprehend, as is their bravery, valour and sacrifice.

:29:16.:29:20.

And in the minds of many, as we've heard, Passchendaele has come to

:29:21.:29:27.

epitomise the senselessness, ultimately, of war. So these moments

:29:28.:29:32.

of commemoration are important, and I'd like to join the minister in

:29:33.:29:36.

thanking all of those involved, and including the Imperial War Museum,

:29:37.:29:41.

the BBC, the Royal British Legion, the Commonwealth War Graves

:29:42.:29:44.

Commission and all the other organisations, including those

:29:45.:29:47.

mentioned by the Minister, who worked so hard to ensure that we do

:29:48.:29:51.

not forget. Indeed, we are fortunate at the

:29:52.:29:57.

moment to have an exhibition here in Westminster Hall, or in the Palace

:29:58.:30:00.

of Westminster Hall, about Parliament and the First World War,

:30:01.:30:03.

which I would encourage all honourable members to visit if they

:30:04.:30:07.

haven't already done so. The scale of the Great War was such

:30:08.:30:13.

that today most cities, towns and villages have a memorial which lists

:30:14.:30:17.

the names of the local people who died while fighting for Britain in

:30:18.:30:23.

that war. As a Welsh MP, Madam Deputy Speaker, you won't be

:30:24.:30:27.

surprised that I would observe sacrifices made in the First World

:30:28.:30:31.

War continue to resonate in Wales, despite the passage of 100 years.

:30:32.:30:36.

The first significant losses of Welsh life came in October and

:30:37.:30:41.

November of 1914. The Germans rushed for Belgian seaports but were

:30:42.:30:45.

repelled by units of the Welsh Regiment and the South Wales

:30:46.:30:48.

borderers, who suffered many casualties. But before the events of

:30:49.:30:53.

that war, Passchendaele in particular, as the Minister made

:30:54.:30:58.

reference to, is a part of Welsh cultural memory. Every village in

:30:59.:31:03.

Wales was affected. 20,000 first language Welsh speaking soldiers

:31:04.:31:09.

alone were killed in this battle. The soldiers of the Welsh Regiment,

:31:10.:31:14.

the South Welsh borders on the Royal Welch Fusiliers all fought alongside

:31:15.:31:19.

each other in the 38th division, and further, the Welsh Guards fought at

:31:20.:31:23.

the third Battle of Ypres. That 38th division was devised by David Lord

:31:24.:31:30.

George, who went on to become Prime Minister after it was devised and

:31:31.:31:36.

whose statue frankly entrance to this chamber and who himself was a

:31:37.:31:43.

first language Welsh speaker. In 1915 the division suffered very

:31:44.:31:47.

heavy casualties on the Somme, but in 1917 it had come to be seen as an

:31:48.:31:51.

elite division, particularly following the Battle of pilgrimage

:31:52.:31:55.

at the beginning of the third Battle of Ypres. The cafe is not far from

:31:56.:32:04.

Ypres has been dedicated by the owner to the many Welsh soldiers who

:32:05.:32:09.

died in the area in 1917, and the red Dragon on a black background

:32:10.:32:15.

worn by the 38th division is the inspiration for the shoulder flash

:32:16.:32:18.

worn by the Royal Welsh today. I think that is a testament to the

:32:19.:32:23.

significance, the cultural significance, of the 38th division.

:32:24.:32:34.

It is for reasons like this public sacrifice are commemorated today and

:32:35.:32:40.

in Wales in relation to Passchendaele. When contemplating

:32:41.:32:45.

casualties on such a huge scale, we often turn to individual stories in

:32:46.:32:50.

remembrance, as the Minister did in his remarks, and that is what I

:32:51.:32:58.

would like to do in my speech. As he said, 100 years since Passchendaele

:32:59.:33:06.

is also 100 years since the staff filed of the black chair. That is

:33:07.:33:13.

the annual Welsh language cultural festival where people compete at

:33:14.:33:18.

sinking, dancing and reciting poetry. Held every summer, the

:33:19.:33:23.

sheer's in a couple of weeks, and I am pleased to say it will be a free

:33:24.:33:27.

event held in the capital city of Cardiff where my constituency lies.

:33:28.:33:34.

In 1916, some people called for that Eisteddfod to become salt. They did

:33:35.:33:38.

not think it would be appropriate to spend time sinking while men were

:33:39.:33:43.

fighting and dying on their behalf in the trenches -- to become

:33:44.:33:49.

cancelled. David Lloyd George said, it is true that thousands of gallant

:33:50.:33:53.

men falling in the fight, let's sing of their heroism, let's sing of our

:33:54.:33:58.

land that gave birth to so many heroes. So in 1916, the Eisteddfod

:33:59.:34:04.

went on. And the following year in 1917, as the Battle of Passchendaele

:34:05.:34:08.

continued, the Eisteddfod was directly touched by the tragedy of

:34:09.:34:18.

that battle. Evans, under a now famous pseudonym, was judged as the

:34:19.:34:22.

winner of the chair, the highest honour of the Eisteddfod, granted to

:34:23.:34:25.

the best poet writing in the traditional strict metre of the

:34:26.:34:31.

Welsh language. However, when the winner's pseudonym was called in the

:34:32.:34:35.

traditional dramatic ceremony of the Eisteddfod, nobody stood up. In the

:34:36.:34:40.

audience, to reveal themselves as the triumphant poet. It was then

:34:41.:34:45.

announced the winning barred had been killed in battle six weeks

:34:46.:34:52.

prior. One of 4,000 men killed in a single morning when the Welsh Royal,

:34:53.:34:59.

Royal Welsh usually is went over the top of Passchendaele. The poet has

:35:00.:35:06.

become the subject of poems himself, history lessons in classrooms across

:35:07.:35:09.

Wales and even the subject of an Oscar-nominated feature film. And

:35:10.:35:15.

the poignant story captured the morning of a nation. So in a way, it

:35:16.:35:20.

is doubly appropriate the front bench reads in this debate today,

:35:21.:35:28.

the Department For Culture. In the greatest perils, it is poetry, songs

:35:29.:35:32.

and the Arts that keep people going and miraculously, even though we

:35:33.:35:37.

would not want this to happen, they turned the horrors of war into the

:35:38.:35:42.

beauty of artistic inspiration. Of course, the war effort in the UK was

:35:43.:35:47.

not only made up of the men who went to fight, there were surgeons and

:35:48.:35:51.

nurses on the battlefields and at home, women became the backbone of

:35:52.:35:56.

industry. And I would like to make mention of my own constituency in

:35:57.:36:01.

1917, the Women's Land Army formed a 20,000 women and listed. Green farm

:36:02.:36:08.

in Cardiff West is now a housing estate which was built to deliver

:36:09.:36:13.

Homes for Heroes after the Great War. But as a farm, it was run

:36:14.:36:17.

predominantly by female farm hands during the war and one of these

:36:18.:36:23.

workers left domestic service to work on the farm. She said, every

:36:24.:36:28.

morning, we would get up at five o'clock and milk 100 cows and we

:36:29.:36:31.

would then take the milk to the hospital. So I am proud and I am

:36:32.:36:37.

sure we are all proud of the efforts of those such as Agnes and so many

:36:38.:36:42.

other women across the country, in her case, she is part of Cardiff

:36:43.:36:46.

West's history, but I am proud and humbled by the sacrifices we still

:36:47.:36:50.

see from our Armed Forces communities across the UK today. The

:36:51.:36:56.

UK Armed Forces continue to protect us, Madam Deputy Speaker, involved

:36:57.:37:01.

in over 30 operations in over 20 countries. Abroad, our forces work

:37:02.:37:06.

in Afghanistan, in non-combat roles. They support the EU and the UN

:37:07.:37:10.

peacekeeping missions in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, in Mali,

:37:11.:37:16.

they are part of Nato's forces in Eastern Europe and they respond the

:37:17.:37:21.

continued threat as we heard earlier today posed by Daesh. At home, they

:37:22.:37:26.

support responses to terrorist incidents, protect aerospace and

:37:27.:37:29.

they are supported by the entire Armed Forces community of families,

:37:30.:37:36.

reservists, veterans and cadets. During this debate, to commemorate

:37:37.:37:39.

the sacrifices made in Passchendaele, we should also

:37:40.:37:42.

remember the sacrifices that have been made and are still being made

:37:43.:37:46.

every year since then by the brave men and women of the UK Armed

:37:47.:37:54.

Forces. The close, I turn to the words from a poem which means war. I

:37:55.:38:02.

will read it in Welsh and then youngish translation.

:38:03.:38:08.

The hearts to which we sang our hunger on willow boughs and their

:38:09.:38:22.

refrain drowned by the anguish of the young whose blood is mingled

:38:23.:38:33.

with the rain. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. Can

:38:34.:38:38.

I begin by thanking the Minister for outlining the various commemorative

:38:39.:38:42.

ceremonies that are to take place over the next two, three months to

:38:43.:38:45.

commemorate the Battle of Passchendaele. And also, for the

:38:46.:38:50.

spokesman for the opposition in talking about the wider impact of

:38:51.:38:56.

the war that were also commemorating. It seems to me at

:38:57.:39:01.

times that this commemoration is a bit like the First World War, in

:39:02.:39:06.

that year by year, we remember another campaign, another battle. I

:39:07.:39:12.

wanted to speak for a number of reasons. I am so old that I

:39:13.:39:18.

interviewed dozens of First World War survivors in the 1970s for a

:39:19.:39:25.

writing project. I publish two or three box. So I have a deep

:39:26.:39:30.

connected memory of the First World War. Both my grandfather served in

:39:31.:39:35.

the First World War, but I am also conscious of the fact that as a

:39:36.:39:42.

member of the primers to's advisory panel that from the very beginning,

:39:43.:39:46.

and this was a point and intervention by a colleague of the

:39:47.:39:50.

Minister, about how would we get the balance right between commemoration

:39:51.:39:56.

and not glorifying war, and how do we bring it to young people? Because

:39:57.:40:01.

I have a personal connection. I can remember talking to survivors of

:40:02.:40:09.

Passchendaele. But from my son aged 26, the battle of Passchendaele is

:40:10.:40:12.

as far away from him as the Battle of Waterloo. Secondly, why are we

:40:13.:40:21.

remembering Passchendaele? Is it just because we have got into the

:40:22.:40:24.

habit of putting pox on our commemoration? In other words, it

:40:25.:40:31.

was obvious in 2014, it was going to be the battle of mums. In 2015, we

:40:32.:40:37.

did rather quiet through that. But there was of course glibly. Very

:40:38.:40:41.

important, crucially, the Australians and New Zealanders. But

:40:42.:40:48.

the great island -- irony is they played a far more important and

:40:49.:40:49.

significant part as part of the British armies in Belgium and

:40:50.:41:06.

France in 16, 17 and 18, now in 2017, we are largely, but not wholly

:41:07.:41:08.

commemorating Passchendaele. And next year, we will end up

:41:09.:41:12.

commemorating the great German offensives of spring. Which nearly

:41:13.:41:18.

broke the Allied line. What was called the Hundred days, the more

:41:19.:41:21.

mobile campaign, and the collapse of the Germans in October, November 90

:41:22.:41:27.

18. And that is it, at the end of the First World War. But of course,

:41:28.:41:34.

it wasn't. It wasn't because of the Minister pointed out, the

:41:35.:41:35.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission celebrates this year its own to

:41:36.:41:45.

worry. -- its centenary. The work of a remarkable man, Fabian Ware, too

:41:46.:41:50.

old to serve on the front line unit in 1914, he served with an ambulance

:41:51.:41:57.

unit, and he was then struck in 1914, 1915, by the extent of the

:41:58.:41:59.

casualties and what was going to happen to them. And through the

:42:00.:42:05.

adjutant general, the chief staff officer, one of the chief staff

:42:06.:42:10.

officers in the British Army, he began to collect bodies together.

:42:11.:42:16.

Some form of formalisation. And ultimately, in 1917, the Imperial

:42:17.:42:21.

walk Graves Commission was established and its work began after

:42:22.:42:27.

the Armistice in 1918. As the Minister pointed out, named after a

:42:28.:42:36.

reference on a map, outside Passchendaele, it it became the

:42:37.:42:42.

largest cemetery for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

:42:43.:42:45.

that they now look after. Nearly 50,000 men are commemorated there.

:42:46.:42:51.

The majority of whom have no grave. So that brings me on to my next

:42:52.:42:56.

point, that for younger people, it is the extent of the casualties of

:42:57.:43:03.

Passchendaele. It is also associated, I suspect, in their mind

:43:04.:43:07.

not only with poetry and literature, some of which we have heard, but

:43:08.:43:13.

film and photographs. The great thing about First World War if there

:43:14.:43:17.

is a great thing, we can actually see it. Cinematic film is more

:43:18.:43:24.

difficult. But we have a raft of photographs, many of which were

:43:25.:43:29.

taken on the front line. It was against the King's regulation. This

:43:30.:43:33.

meant to take cameras onto the front line, most of them ignored that and

:43:34.:43:36.

sent them back home. So we have a graphic display of that. But I find

:43:37.:43:44.

that in explaining and talking about this with young people and children,

:43:45.:43:50.

to try and get them to think about this, they say to me, another three

:43:51.:43:55.

or four years and I would have been old enough to fought in it. How did

:43:56.:44:02.

they endure that? What did the Government do to force them to fight

:44:03.:44:09.

in the British Army's -- British armies in the First World War? It

:44:10.:44:12.

comes as a surprise when you say there was no conscription until

:44:13.:44:18.

1916, 90 17. The majority of the servicemen were volunteers.

:44:19.:44:22.

Kitchener volunteers, or in the territorial Army. And whilst there

:44:23.:44:29.

was a pretty dramatic and drastic military discipline code, and we

:44:30.:44:35.

know that dozens of British servicemen were executed in the

:44:36.:44:39.

First World War, some for cowardice, some for murder, what I am struck

:44:40.:44:46.

goodbye talking all those years ago the veterans and reading their

:44:47.:44:50.

diaries and their letters, many of them were appalled by the death of

:44:51.:44:57.

their friends and the suffering. But they did it out of a combination of

:44:58.:45:03.

that local interest, many of them serving with their friends based

:45:04.:45:09.

upon volunteering to serve in Powells battalions or serving

:45:10.:45:15.

alongside men from the same village or from the same streets. A

:45:16.:45:22.

Victorian concept of duty. And of course, one of the most important

:45:23.:45:25.

stimulants and determinants in battle, which will I was always told

:45:26.:45:32.

teaching that sound Hirst by men who did this, small group loyalty. You

:45:33.:45:36.

were not even doing this for your battalion, but for the people in

:45:37.:45:39.

your section, half a dozen people doing that. And we have to remember

:45:40.:45:48.

that Passchendaele, as the ministers pointed out, was not a one-day

:45:49.:45:52.

battle. It was a series of campaigns from the end of July until November

:45:53.:45:59.

ten. And it was only one part of the work of the British Army in Belgium

:46:00.:46:05.

and France in 1917. The next point I want to touch upon is that one of

:46:06.:46:13.

the questions you get not just from young people but by people

:46:14.:46:18.

interested in the First World War is, why were the General so stupid?

:46:19.:46:21.

A point being made by the honourable member earlier on.

:46:22.:46:27.

I've never been in that camp, particularly. What I try to remember

:46:28.:46:37.

is I think that they did come from a limited background, they had a

:46:38.:46:40.

limited experience and perception of war. You also have to bear in mind

:46:41.:46:45.

that the British expeditionary Force of 1914, maybe regular, -- mainly

:46:46.:46:57.

regular was about a men. In 1917 the British Army at the front was

:46:58.:47:05.

roughly 1.3 million men. An enormous expansion in the war. Many of them

:47:06.:47:10.

are not soldiers, they were in the logistics or support side. They, to

:47:11.:47:15.

use the modern academic term, the learning curve required to recruit,

:47:16.:47:23.

train, deploy and fight these armies was enormous. It wasn't just the

:47:24.:47:27.

experience in Britain but the experience in Belgium, France,

:47:28.:47:32.

Germany and Russia. And I have to say, bear in mind the extent of the

:47:33.:47:37.

casualties at Passchendaele, we are talking about maybe 500 or 600,000

:47:38.:47:43.

men, give or take 10,000. That sounds appallingly inaccurate. Think

:47:44.:47:47.

in terms of the casualties of the Second World War. I mean, just one

:47:48.:47:53.

example is historians now tell us that the average British infantry

:47:54.:47:59.

battalion in Normandy had more casualties than its equivalent in

:48:00.:48:06.

France in 1917. Passchendaele was unique in one sense, but there's a

:48:07.:48:12.

commonality in major war on a vast scale.

:48:13.:48:17.

Then there's the question, and he was mentioned by the opposition

:48:18.:48:22.

spokesman, of the coalition Prime Minister, David Lloyd George. And

:48:23.:48:27.

what became the battle of the men was in for invoicing Lord George --

:48:28.:48:35.

Lloyd George, Churchill and the generals on the other, about who was

:48:36.:48:40.

responsible for the casualties and was there an alternative? Crudely

:48:41.:48:44.

speaking, Lloyd George wanted, for very good reasons, to avoid engaging

:48:45.:48:52.

the German enemy in the main theatre of operations. He was always looking

:48:53.:48:56.

for a way to knock the props out from under Germany. And on the

:48:57.:49:01.

whole, the generals were against that. As far as they were concerned,

:49:02.:49:06.

the main battle within Belgium and France. We were a subordinate and

:49:07.:49:09.

then an equal partner of the French. But there is no doubt in my mind

:49:10.:49:14.

that Lloyd George had, in theory, the power to have halted the

:49:15.:49:23.

campaign. After the first month when they ground to a hole in the foulest

:49:24.:49:27.

of weather, he had that power, except he didn't, because he felt

:49:28.:49:32.

weak up against Douglas Hague. Douglas Hague had the press on his

:49:33.:49:36.

side, and he had them on his side until the end.

:49:37.:49:39.

Madam Deputy Speaker, this debate is still going on today, amongst

:49:40.:49:46.

historians, about was there on alternative? There probably wasn't

:49:47.:49:49.

an alternative, but we didn't have in place the methods and the

:49:50.:49:58.

organisation to have proper debates about this in the First World War.

:49:59.:50:01.

That was the big lesson that Churchill learnt. Churchill, who

:50:02.:50:09.

had, of course, left the Government after Gallipoli, when and served in

:50:10.:50:12.

France and then Lloyd George reluctantly brought him back as

:50:13.:50:17.

Minister of munitions. When he became Prime Minister, the one thing

:50:18.:50:20.

he learned from the First World War was as Prime Minister he had to have

:50:21.:50:26.

pretty much total power. So he made himself Prime Minister and Minister

:50:27.:50:29.

of defence, but he also sought to have a continuous day by day debate

:50:30.:50:36.

with the chiefs of staff over a full range of strategy, and to use

:50:37.:50:39.

government committees to run the war. He was in many respects a

:50:40.:50:45.

dictator, Churchill, but it was almost without exception that he had

:50:46.:50:51.

overruled the Chiefs of staff. Lloyd George didn't have that ability. Not

:50:52.:50:55.

only did the Navy not talk to the Army, but Lloyd George had great

:50:56.:51:00.

difficulty pinning down the chief of the Imperial General staff, Wally

:51:01.:51:04.

Robertson, the only man to come from working class private to becoming

:51:05.:51:11.

the head of the Army and the Field Marshal, whose contempt for Lloyd

:51:12.:51:16.

George was such that at one meeting he just walked out, deciding not to

:51:17.:51:20.

continue with the debate. These are the kinds of things I try

:51:21.:51:24.

to engage young people with, about issues that are still alive today.

:51:25.:51:30.

My final point, Madam Deputy Speaker, is the sorrow and pity of

:51:31.:51:36.

War. The Battle of Passchendaele, as much as anything else, I think was

:51:37.:51:39.

defined, if you put aside the plans and the personalities of the senior

:51:40.:51:44.

officers, by two things. The sheer weight of artillery firepower was on

:51:45.:51:49.

such a scale that totally dwarfed anything that even had taken place

:51:50.:51:54.

at the Battle of the Somme. We are still talking about an ability to

:51:55.:51:59.

bring down boxed artillery firepower in very small areas. My honourable

:52:00.:52:10.

friend from new Forest showed, illegally, photographs of what

:52:11.:52:14.

Passchendaele looked like! And the second element was the two periods

:52:15.:52:22.

of atrocious weather. I mean absolute downpour of rain, which

:52:23.:52:27.

ground everything to a halt. And that's not a phenomenon that we are

:52:28.:52:30.

able to deal with today. And if you want to think about whether the

:52:31.:52:37.

impact of the weather, the impact of firepower, read to deduct our

:52:38.:52:46.

colleague, the member for Plymouth's book, based on his three tours of

:52:47.:52:52.

operation in Afghanistan, a Royal Artillery officer attached to the

:52:53.:52:58.

Royal Marines, and sees there. But all the technology we now have, the

:52:59.:53:02.

firepower, the helicopters, how difficult it is, and the

:53:03.:53:06.

overwhelming desire not to kill or injure civilians.

:53:07.:53:12.

So I very much welcome this commemorative debate. I know that my

:53:13.:53:16.

colleagues on all sides will make contributions. Madam Deputy Speaker,

:53:17.:53:22.

with your permission, I want to read out two short contemporary accounts

:53:23.:53:30.

that combines the shellfire and the strain on soldiers.

:53:31.:53:38.

The first is from Britain, from a private from the Fusiliers,

:53:39.:53:45.

describing an attack in October 1917, in other words, halfway

:53:46.:53:48.

through the Passchendaele campaign. Mr K, obviously a platoon officer,

:53:49.:53:54.

came up and said, come on lads, it's our turn, and we just walked round

:53:55.:53:59.

the corner of the pill box and up the hill. The Germans didn't have

:54:00.:54:03.

much to fear from me that morning, there was no fire in my belly, no

:54:04.:54:08.

nothing. I staggered up the hill and I froze and became very frightened

:54:09.:54:14.

because a big shell had just burst and blown up a group of our lads to

:54:15.:54:18.

bits. There were bits of men all over the place, a terrible sight,

:54:19.:54:24.

men just blown to nothing. I just stood there. It was still misty and

:54:25.:54:30.

I could taste the blood in the air. I couldn't move. I stood there,

:54:31.:54:35.

staring. Then an officer came across and shouted we were far too far to

:54:36.:54:41.

the left and had to go right. I probably would have been dead but

:54:42.:54:45.

for him jolting me out of it. These men had just been killed, and we

:54:46.:54:48.

just have to wait through them to get on. That's one thing I'll never

:54:49.:54:56.

forget, what I saw and what I smelt. The second short account is from the

:54:57.:55:01.

other side of the hill. A letter from an unknown German officer, 20th

:55:02.:55:09.

of September, 1917. "Dear Mother, on the morning of the

:55:10.:55:15.

18th, the dugout, containing 17 men, was shot to pieces over our heads. I

:55:16.:55:20.

am the one who withstood the maddening bombardment for three days

:55:21.:55:24.

and still survives. You cannot imagine the frightful mental

:55:25.:55:29.

torments that I have undergone in these few hours. After trawling out

:55:30.:55:32.

through the bleeding remnants of my comrades and the smoke and the

:55:33.:55:38.

debris, and wandering and fleeing in the midst of the raging artillery

:55:39.:55:42.

fire in search of refuge, I am now awaiting death at any moment. You do

:55:43.:55:54.

not know what flounders means. -- Flanders means. It means endurance,

:55:55.:55:57.

scraps of human bodies, Flanders means heroic courage and

:55:58.:56:04.

faithfulness, even to death." I do not know whether he survived.

:56:05.:56:13.

It is a pleasure to follow the gentleman. He made an incredibly

:56:14.:56:19.

forensic, heartfelt and vivid speech, particularly emotional in

:56:20.:56:24.

his two breed outs at the end. The better informed because of it. I

:56:25.:56:30.

thank sincerely. I thank the Minister also for bringing the

:56:31.:56:34.

debate to the House today, and in particular pay tribute to the Shadow

:56:35.:56:39.

Minister, who himself made a very fine speech.

:56:40.:56:41.

Madam Deputy Speaker, it was absolutely right that we commemorate

:56:42.:56:46.

Passchendaele, as the trigger of what it meant to go through

:56:47.:56:52.

industrial warfare. The sacrifice that was paid then of course must

:56:53.:56:57.

never be forgotten, and we pay tribute to all of the bodies

:56:58.:57:02.

mentioned by the Minister who will take part in the commemoration

:57:03.:57:07.

services this year. Commemoration is, of course, important. It is

:57:08.:57:10.

always important to commemorate the large-scale loss of human life, as

:57:11.:57:15.

we do this week, on the 22nd anniversary of the genocide. And we

:57:16.:57:21.

welcome the fact that the families of those who were lost in the Battle

:57:22.:57:27.

of Passchendaele will have the opportunity to take part in these

:57:28.:57:33.

commemorations. In Scotland, of course, there was no community,

:57:34.:57:38.

barely a family untouched by the courage of Passchendaele. What this

:57:39.:57:43.

tragedy highlights to us again, as many other tragedies do, is the

:57:44.:57:50.

importance of international and institutional peace building and

:57:51.:57:56.

cooperation, shared values, shared interests and working together to

:57:57.:58:00.

ensure that war doesn't become the norm of our time.

:58:01.:58:05.

Turning in particular, Madam Deputy Speaker, as I'm sure you'd expect me

:58:06.:58:08.

to do as a Glasgow member of Parliament, I understand there is

:58:09.:58:11.

another honourable friend from Glasgow North east who also may one

:58:12.:58:19.

to touch on this, I would like to mention something I came across on

:58:20.:58:28.

the Scottish football history Museum website, from Hampden Park in my

:58:29.:58:32.

constituency. What they have is fascinating, but there is one

:58:33.:58:35.

individual on that website that you can read more about. You can go to

:58:36.:58:38.

the museum and read more about, and I would like to tell the House of.

:58:39.:58:42.

That was the former Rangers player, Jimmy Spiers, one of the many men

:58:43.:58:49.

are, of course, who never returned. His face will front the

:58:50.:58:53.

Passchendaele centenary commemoration, remembering these

:58:54.:58:56.

Scots who did not make it back from Passchendaele. On the 19th of

:58:57.:59:00.

August, the unveiling of the life-size steel silhouette will

:59:01.:59:08.

feature Jimmy Spiers, one of the many Glaswegians who never made it

:59:09.:59:13.

back from Passchendaele. But in addition to the excellent archives

:59:14.:59:17.

at the Scottish football history Museum is a fantastic portal at

:59:18.:59:24.

Glasgow University. There are quite a number of very distinguished

:59:25.:59:29.

people I could read out their biographies on telly lots about, but

:59:30.:59:32.

there are just a small handful I would like to inform the House. The

:59:33.:59:40.

first of which is Lachlan senior grain. Born in Glasgow on the 19th

:59:41.:59:44.

of September 1882. His father Duncan was a well-known Glasgow leather

:59:45.:59:51.

manufacturer with an interest in politics and public life. He was one

:59:52.:59:55.

of the original founding members of the Glasgow Liberal club. A past

:59:56.:00:05.

president of the eighth... And of the agricultural Society, himself a

:00:06.:00:10.

keen cricketer and golfer. Seymour went up to the University of Glasgow

:00:11.:00:14.

in 1900 to begin his studies for an arts degree and took many subjects,

:00:15.:00:19.

including Latin, logic and moral philosophy. In his final years in

:00:20.:00:24.

Hearts he discovered his strong suit and did extremely well in political

:00:25.:00:31.

economy. In a class of Civil War law. Perhaps it was that success

:00:32.:00:35.

which encouraged him to take up law. After graduating in 1905, he

:00:36.:00:39.

matriculated against the Scots rock and over the next few years tragedy

:00:40.:00:48.

put together eight PL. -- in the next year put together a PL. It was

:00:49.:00:52.

lasting sporting his way in the legal profession that he decided to

:00:53.:00:56.

join up. Seymour took the commission as a secondary talent in the seventh

:00:57.:01:02.

Highland Light Infantry. It was at Passchendaele, the very name of

:01:03.:01:08.

which invokes so much loss, which other members have touched upon this

:01:09.:01:11.

afternoon. It was Passchendaele at which he was fatally wounded. He

:01:12.:01:20.

died in August, 1917. Turning again, Madam Deputy Speaker,

:01:21.:01:29.

to my own constituency, there is George Ernest Mayne. George was the

:01:30.:01:36.

second son of and Hillman. He was also educated at Glasgow in a gusty,

:01:37.:01:42.

starting in 1907, prior to that being educated at Glasgow Academy.

:01:43.:01:49.

Despite excelling in political economy, he wasn't able to pass his

:01:50.:01:54.

examinations in Latin, maths and constitutional law and actually left

:01:55.:01:57.

without completing his degree. By the time the war had broken out, he

:01:58.:02:02.

had begun to study for the ministry at the United free Church.

:02:03.:02:08.

And then there's also Walter Ramsey Scott, born in 1883 in Pollokshaws,

:02:09.:02:19.

at that point part of Renfrewshire as opposed to the city of Glasgow.

:02:20.:02:25.

He was the son of Robert Scott, a cashier, and Margaret Scott, who

:02:26.:02:33.

lived in Glasgow in Lanarkshire. Madam Deputy Speaker, it can

:02:34.:02:38.

sometimes be too easy when we discuss these types of events to

:02:39.:02:45.

remember numbers rather than people. I've selected a small number of

:02:46.:02:49.

extraordinary Glaswegians who took part in the battle of Passchendaele

:02:50.:02:54.

and paid the ultimate price at the Battle of Passchendaele. But behind

:02:55.:03:02.

all of those names are not just men, distinguished in education, in

:03:03.:03:06.

politics and public life and in military life. But there are also

:03:07.:03:12.

their families, there are their children, their wives, sisters and

:03:13.:03:18.

mothers who were left behind. And my honourable friend from West

:03:19.:03:21.

Dunbartonshire makes an important point. It's absolutely correct to

:03:22.:03:25.

remember the dead and the wounded, but what about those who supported

:03:26.:03:32.

our brave soldiers? What about the nurses? What about the doctors and

:03:33.:03:38.

those who were supporting people with mental health problems? Ve to

:03:39.:03:42.

have a rightful place in any commemoration that we have, not just

:03:43.:03:47.

on Passchendaele but on any other major conflict with an enormous loss

:03:48.:03:54.

of life. So I pay tribute to the Government 's efforts here on this

:03:55.:04:00.

commemoration. I'm very pleased that the first of the Government's First

:04:01.:04:05.

World War commemorative events was indeed in Glasgow Cathedral, not a

:04:06.:04:11.

fine cathedral to be found anywhere in the United Kingdom. I'm hearing

:04:12.:04:20.

other suggestions. But I am very proud as a Glaswegian that that was

:04:21.:04:24.

the place that that took place. So one day half of the people of

:04:25.:04:29.

Glasgow, I'm sure to be reinforced by the honourable member for Glasgow

:04:30.:04:33.

North East, we do indeed remember them, salute them and we thank their

:04:34.:04:38.

families for the sacrifice they made. Here here. Madam Deputy

:04:39.:04:46.

Speaker, we have a tradition in debates of this sort for fine

:04:47.:04:51.

oratory and thoughtful contributions. That certainly has

:04:52.:04:55.

been the case today. I was interested in the remarks by the

:04:56.:04:59.

honourable gentleman, the Member for Barrow in Furness in his

:05:00.:05:04.

intervention. He rightly raised the issue of Time, which of course was

:05:05.:05:08.

the first issue that was considered right at the very beginning of this

:05:09.:05:13.

commemorative period as the Government was drawing up its plans

:05:14.:05:18.

for the four-year centenary. Because on that really hinges all the rest,

:05:19.:05:28.

on tone. Commemoration and celebration are politically very

:05:29.:05:30.

similar but semantically they are very different indeed and throughout

:05:31.:05:37.

this period of the Government has rightly insisted that throughout

:05:38.:05:44.

this commemoration it may certainly is not celebration. Earlier in this

:05:45.:05:48.

commemorative period we had to adjust issues such as was this a

:05:49.:05:53.

just war in Augustinian terms? Was it the right thing to do and was it

:05:54.:05:59.

worth the price? And those are two very different things. In

:06:00.:06:04.

Augustinian terms, it was a just war. It satisfied all the

:06:05.:06:08.

preconditions for a just war and it was as well a war that was one. But

:06:09.:06:14.

who amongst us would have signed up to such a thing if we had known in

:06:15.:06:20.

advance what the cost would be? What the dreadful cost of this war would

:06:21.:06:28.

have been. We are reminded of that cost every day as we arrive here

:06:29.:06:32.

when we look at our own war memorial at the end of Westminster Hall. But

:06:33.:06:38.

that is replicated right across this country in our war memorials, which

:06:39.:06:43.

characterise every single settlement in the British Isles. It was a cost

:06:44.:06:50.

indeed and one I suspect that few of past today would be prepared to

:06:51.:06:55.

countenance. The third Battle of Ypres, Passchendaele, became known

:06:56.:07:01.

as Passchendaele because Passchendaele evokes such powerful

:07:02.:07:05.

sentiment despite the fact it was part of this campaign that was right

:07:06.:07:12.

at the tail end of the engagement. It began relatively well. It was

:07:13.:07:17.

preceded, of course, by the Battle of missing and we are reminded of

:07:18.:07:24.

that particularly since last week we commemorated in a modest way the

:07:25.:07:30.

death of a member of Parliament, Major Willie Redmond, who died at 56

:07:31.:07:39.

at that particular battle, in Messines. He was a truly great man

:07:40.:07:46.

and it reminds us of the great loss of life, the lost opportunity and

:07:47.:07:49.

the Minister quite rightly in his excellent opening speech mentioned

:07:50.:07:52.

Francis led witch, the so-called blow it -- poet of the blackbirds

:07:53.:08:01.

and the Bard of the black chair who died at pilgrim Bridge. It's right

:08:02.:08:08.

and I think the honourable gentleman from the opposite benches right to

:08:09.:08:15.

point out that it is in these cultural losses, these wonderful

:08:16.:08:19.

creative men, really brings it home what a wasteful period in our

:08:20.:08:24.

history this was. Just think of what the world might have been had those

:08:25.:08:32.

men left to become fathers and grandfathers and doctors and poets

:08:33.:08:35.

and artists and fulfilled their full potential. It is almost unimaginable

:08:36.:08:44.

and yet there we are. That is where we are left as a result of this

:08:45.:08:52.

terrible, terrible war. According to a JP Taylor, third Ypres was the

:08:53.:08:58.

blindest slaughter of a blind war and we've heard that between the

:08:59.:09:02.

31st of July and the 12th of November, close on 250,000 British

:09:03.:09:08.

and British Empire troops were either killed or injured and a

:09:09.:09:15.

similar number on the German side. Basil Liddell Hart was writing in

:09:16.:09:21.

the 1930s when he said that Passchendaele was synonymous with

:09:22.:09:24.

military failure and that it was black bordered in the annals of the

:09:25.:09:33.

British Army. And Basil Liddell Hart of course had some experience of

:09:34.:09:38.

serving in the trenches and he was writing between 1930, 1940, and in

:09:39.:09:47.

1934 his great works on the subject. I'm particularly moved by historians

:09:48.:09:51.

accounts of that time because of course they could remember it. They

:09:52.:09:56.

had it fresh in their memory and the difficulty, as Hillary Mantell has

:09:57.:10:00.

pointed out recently in her brief lectures with history is that it

:10:01.:10:06.

seems to change all the time. As generations go by, there seems to be

:10:07.:10:10.

reinterpretations all the time of history. Well, Liddell Hart was

:10:11.:10:15.

reporting a more or less in real-time with his own reflection

:10:16.:10:22.

and a collection of how this was. With historical record, we have to

:10:23.:10:28.

have a particular mind to those who were writing very close to the Great

:10:29.:10:32.

War. They were there, they had seen it with their own eyes. They were

:10:33.:10:37.

not seeing it through the fog of a century or so as we now are.

:10:38.:10:42.

According to Liddell Hart, a lieutenant was driving up from the

:10:43.:10:46.

front line in his staff car and was meant to have said, good God, did we

:10:47.:10:52.

really send men to fight in that? Well, Nick Lloyd in his more

:10:53.:10:57.

contemporary account published this year suggests that that was up until

:10:58.:11:01.

and that may be the case. It certainly served the narrative that

:11:02.:11:06.

this was a war is all about chateaux generals sending other men's sons to

:11:07.:11:13.

die in terrible circumstances. And narrative, of course, that prevailed

:11:14.:11:17.

in the 1960s when we were commemorating the 50th anniversary

:11:18.:11:21.

of this conflict and has only recently been corrected. Public

:11:22.:11:28.

appetite for this material appears to be pretty much insatiable and I

:11:29.:11:31.

think the Government has been surprised by the level of interest

:11:32.:11:36.

that this centenary has provoked. We've never done this sort of thing

:11:37.:11:42.

before. We had no real idea at the beginning how much interest there

:11:43.:11:46.

would actually be in this material and frankly how sustainable it was

:11:47.:11:50.

going to be. Well, I think the public has surpassed all of our

:11:51.:11:55.

expectations and they are proving to be incredibly receptive to this. The

:11:56.:12:01.

evidence we have suggests that one of the legacies of this centenary

:12:02.:12:03.

period will be greatly improved level of under standing of the

:12:04.:12:08.

seminal period in our recent history. All the evidence suggests

:12:09.:12:15.

that people understand better the circumstances that led up to the

:12:16.:12:19.

Great War, the conduct of that war and as we get further and further

:12:20.:12:24.

into this centenary, the right questions are being asked, questions

:12:25.:12:27.

around, what does this actually mean? How does it actually impact on

:12:28.:12:33.

how we live today? And the big question of course is, how on earth

:12:34.:12:37.

do we prevent it from ever happening again? And when we come to examine

:12:38.:12:42.

what it all means, what all this investment in time and effort has

:12:43.:12:46.

been over the four years, I think we can also look at the diplomatic

:12:47.:12:50.

deliverables that there have been. One of the things that has really

:12:51.:12:54.

struck me is the value of commemorating shared history. Some

:12:55.:12:59.

of this is actually quite uncomfortable and it can be

:13:00.:13:03.

uncomfortable in surprising places. Our relationship for example with

:13:04.:13:08.

what is now the Republic of Ireland, more than our relationship with

:13:09.:13:13.

Germany. That has been advanced, I think, quite significantly over this

:13:14.:13:17.

period and when you hear people in the Republic of Ireland talking

:13:18.:13:22.

about the service of their forebears in the uniform of George V, you know

:13:23.:13:29.

that something has changed, because they wouldn't have talked about that

:13:30.:13:35.

openly or displayed those campaign medals a generation ago. And that is

:13:36.:13:41.

a truly remarkable thing. Despite the fact that for many people, a lot

:13:42.:13:48.

of this history is painful. And it kind of underscores the importance

:13:49.:13:52.

of commemorating history, warts and all, and making sure that at no

:13:53.:13:56.

point you attempt to airbrush or finesse it. Throughout the four

:13:57.:14:01.

years, we've been very focused on young people for very obvious

:14:02.:14:06.

reasons. This is the generation who 100 years ago was right at the

:14:07.:14:13.

forefront of all this action. It is salutary to stand at a place like

:14:14.:14:18.

time cot and watch the reaction of those young people in bus tours to

:14:19.:14:25.

arrive, possibly cynical youth, but not when they are looking around a

:14:26.:14:30.

place like that. Look at their faces and you can see that the penny has

:14:31.:14:35.

dropped, because they are looking at row upon row of headstones above the

:14:36.:14:41.

remains of people bearing age. One of the most powerful things that we

:14:42.:14:44.

have done as part of the battlefield Tours is to make sure that there is

:14:45.:14:51.

a contemporary servicemen wherever we possibly can, so that connection

:14:52.:14:56.

can be made. And again, when we are looking at benefits from initiatives

:14:57.:15:01.

that sort, it is better understanding on the part of those

:15:02.:15:05.

young people who these days with the contraction of our armed services

:15:06.:15:07.

perhaps don't have that burst and connection with the Armed Forces

:15:08.:15:10.

that we might have done in generation. That in itself is an

:15:11.:15:22.

incredibly powerful thing and brings this to life for our young men and

:15:23.:15:27.

women. Thank you for giving way. May I begin, I am sure under half of the

:15:28.:15:34.

whole house, by paying tribute to the work he has done personally to

:15:35.:15:37.

help commemorate the First World War. He has put in a huge amount of

:15:38.:15:41.

time and effort and I begins right to acknowledge that today. He was

:15:42.:15:50.

talking about young people. I am sure he would agree that young

:15:51.:15:55.

people today are able to learn about the tremendous sacrifice made so

:15:56.:16:02.

that they are able to live in a free country. With that in mind, would he

:16:03.:16:12.

join with me in celebrating these goals in my constituency who have

:16:13.:16:15.

worked hard to ensure their students could go forward and learn about the

:16:16.:16:17.

sacrifices made on the battlefield? The thing that impresses all about

:16:18.:16:26.

this period is the extraordinary amount of work across the country,

:16:27.:16:30.

some of its sponsored, assisted by the Government, some of it not, some

:16:31.:16:35.

of it quite spontaneous in its evolution and that together form is

:16:36.:16:40.

a wonderful patchwork of commemoratives activity. It just

:16:41.:16:43.

shows the passion the public has for commemorating this period in our

:16:44.:16:50.

history and suggests to me there will indeed be a very rich legacy

:16:51.:16:53.

when we come towards the end of our four years.

:16:54.:16:58.

I thank him so much for giving way and I commend him for the

:16:59.:17:02.

extraordinary work is done to ensure this commemoration period is given

:17:03.:17:06.

as wide a voice that can be. He encouraged me last year to look to

:17:07.:17:11.

the Northumberland Fusiliers, the young men from my constituency, who

:17:12.:17:14.

had gone out to fight in the First World War. Boys and young men the

:17:15.:17:18.

same age as my son is now, which brings it home very bluntly to me. I

:17:19.:17:26.

went out to Italy to lay a wreath last year in northern Italy, and by

:17:27.:17:32.

chance a group of Italian students of 17 and 18 were visiting. They had

:17:33.:17:35.

never been inside the cemetery before and they saw a woman in a red

:17:36.:17:44.

coat with a wreath and was curious. They came in with their teacher and

:17:45.:17:48.

their teacher, who spoke perfect English, asked me why was there and

:17:49.:17:51.

why British soldiers were fighting for the country? They had had very

:17:52.:17:55.

little education of the First World War because the way history was

:17:56.:18:03.

taught in Italy a change. They were absolutely transfixed, are

:18:04.:18:05.

enormously appreciative, slightly overwhelmed by the fact young men

:18:06.:18:11.

had come from far, far away, in my case from Northumberland, to come

:18:12.:18:14.

and fight for freedom. And just to commend that the efforts the

:18:15.:18:20.

honourable gentleman has made, enabled us to share that with

:18:21.:18:25.

children across the water. She is absolutely right, my honourable

:18:26.:18:28.

friend. It is not just about the Western front, I'm very pleased she

:18:29.:18:32.

mentioned Italy. It's very important as part of this poor yet

:18:33.:18:35.

commemoratives period, that people appreciate the First World War was

:18:36.:18:40.

indeed a world war and the Italian campaign was an important part of

:18:41.:18:46.

that. Can I mention this centenary, whilst I'm talking about young

:18:47.:18:50.

people... Question on this project, I hope, will become an important

:18:51.:18:58.

part of our presence on what was the Western front. Important for people

:18:59.:19:02.

wishing to visit commemoratives sites. The Canadians have been doing

:19:03.:19:07.

this for a very long time. That is to say having young people guiding

:19:08.:19:13.

visitors from Canada around the sights of the Western front that are

:19:14.:19:16.

particularly important to them. It struck me, if the Canadians can do

:19:17.:19:20.

this so well from a distance of 3000 miles, we can probably do something

:19:21.:19:25.

rather similar from a distance of 200 miles. Right now we have

:19:26.:19:30.

interns who will be guiding people interns who will be guiding people

:19:31.:19:34.

around the principled sites for us, which will be initially. That under

:19:35.:19:45.

the supervision. I hope when people and colleagues visit the Western

:19:46.:19:49.

front and visit the sites of importance in northern France and

:19:50.:19:52.

Belgium, they will look out for the very obvious and orange T-shirt

:19:53.:19:58.

uniforms of our centenary interns. Those I met last week when I visited

:19:59.:20:02.

Tyne Cot were people of exceptional quality. I'm sure people will be

:20:03.:20:06.

very pleased to see them and to be guided, as they are tasked to do,

:20:07.:20:16.

around those particular sites. It is remarkable, of course, that

:20:17.:20:23.

not only was the third Battle of Ypres preceded by a victory that

:20:24.:20:28.

encouraged Douglas Haig in his dialogue with Lloyd George, but

:20:29.:20:36.

sixth-seeded bike camber I, which was remarkable for another reason,

:20:37.:20:42.

introducing mechanical warfare for the first time to the Western front.

:20:43.:20:44.

I think it was the gathering note for what became a far more kinetic

:20:45.:20:49.

stage to what my right honourable friend referred to, the last 100

:20:50.:20:53.

days of that particular war. But for most people in this country, what

:20:54.:20:57.

makes Passchendaele special, as it were, is the mud and blood. It was

:20:58.:21:02.

something quite different from the Somme, which resulted in far more

:21:03.:21:06.

casualties than Passchendaele did, but it is that mud and blood caused

:21:07.:21:10.

by rain, of course, but also the inundation of Flanders, the barrage

:21:11.:21:23.

of artillery that destroyed the fort that held back the sea from that

:21:24.:21:28.

part of the world. Francis pasture land, you can't grow crops there,

:21:29.:21:32.

it's far too wet. The reason is capable of being utilised

:21:33.:21:38.

agricultural purposes is it has an advanced system of water

:21:39.:21:41.

engineering. Bombardment means it is completely destroyed. It is not for

:21:42.:21:45.

the first time that the British Army knew the full consequences of the

:21:46.:21:50.

destruction of that system. The combination of heavy rainfall and

:21:51.:21:53.

the destruction of civil in that area made the thing a complete

:21:54.:21:57.

quagmire, which gave Passchendaele its particular awfulness.

:21:58.:22:05.

I would just like to finish on a contemporary note. In two weeks'

:22:06.:22:11.

time, many of us will be privileged to attend the commemorations in

:22:12.:22:18.

Ypres and Tyne Cot, and we will stand there among the row upon row

:22:19.:22:23.

of headstones and look at the naming gate with its names carved in stone,

:22:24.:22:28.

and we will be left with a sense of wonder. We're trying to work out

:22:29.:22:35.

what it all means. In the context of the debate we are having today about

:22:36.:22:41.

our future in Europe, one wonders perhaps what others think of us,

:22:42.:22:46.

too. There are those in Europe who say that this country is somehow

:22:47.:22:54.

less than European, that we are poor Europeans. I would just say this...

:22:55.:23:02.

This country always has been, is now and certainly 100 years ago was

:23:03.:23:06.

demonstrating full well that there is no country in Europe that is more

:23:07.:23:10.

engaged in Europe than the United Kingdom. That was the case 100 years

:23:11.:23:18.

ago, and just I would ask colleagues, as they look amongst

:23:19.:23:22.

those headstones and gaze up at those names carved in stone, just

:23:23.:23:26.

reflect on this country's contribution to European history,

:23:27.:23:34.

and whether we are Brexiteers or not, I'm completely signed up

:23:35.:23:38.

Brexiteer, we need to understand we are Europeans. That's where we have

:23:39.:23:43.

always been. That is where we will always be, and we should take

:23:44.:23:47.

absolutely no nonsense from those, who for their own purposes, try to

:23:48.:23:52.

suggest that we are in some way disengaged from Europe. I'm proud of

:23:53.:23:57.

our history. This country has always been there when Europe needs us,

:23:58.:24:02.

when we need to face down the general disturber of the peace. And

:24:03.:24:08.

I am confident that we will continue to do just that. In two weeks' time

:24:09.:24:14.

it will be a solemn time for our country. The media will be most

:24:15.:24:21.

certainly focused on Tyne Cot and Ypres. We will be among friends in

:24:22.:24:27.

Belgium, a country that is extraordinarily sympathetic to this

:24:28.:24:30.

country, and they are good friends of ours.

:24:31.:24:35.

I just think it's important that whenever we have the opportunity, we

:24:36.:24:42.

reinforce in their minds our solidarity and comradeship with our

:24:43.:24:46.

friends and neighbours in Europe. There can be no more enduring

:24:47.:24:49.

testament to that level of European engagement than the men engaged in

:24:50.:24:57.

Ypres and Tyne Cot. These debates get near wreck each

:24:58.:25:04.

time we have them to the reality of the First World War. My honourable

:25:05.:25:10.

friend for Newport, for Cardiff West, quoted the work in Wales and

:25:11.:25:29.

the touching symbol he used... Their blood mixed with the wind, with the

:25:30.:25:35.

rain. We could see that in the imagery presented in the two poems

:25:36.:25:44.

that were quoted. We must see the lesson of this terrible event of the

:25:45.:25:49.

First World War and learn from it. I speak with dug up as there has been

:25:50.:25:55.

one visual aid this afternoon, this is my father, a machine gunner James

:25:56.:26:05.

Ferrin. Not a distinguished soldier but one who went, who volunteered

:26:06.:26:11.

because he was a great compatriot and soaks up the propaganda at the

:26:12.:26:15.

time, and went out there to sort out the hunger. He went as a volunteer

:26:16.:26:19.

at the age of 15, he lied about his age. He went through the Somme,

:26:20.:26:24.

Passchendaele and eventually he was captured by the Germans, to his

:26:25.:26:30.

great relief, because he was dying after being hit by a mortar and was

:26:31.:26:38.

in a shell hole and couldn't get out of it, and the Germans, to whom he

:26:39.:26:42.

was eternally grateful for the rest of his life, he lived to 43, because

:26:43.:26:48.

of the care they gave him. They carried him across no man's land

:26:49.:26:56.

after the breakthrough by the Germans in 1918 and saved his life.

:26:57.:27:02.

He went there to kill Germans, and went back as a great admirer of the

:27:03.:27:07.

Germans who saved his life. I was struck, I believe, by the poem

:27:08.:27:14.

quoted by the member of broad lands in a previous debate, because I

:27:15.:27:17.

think it illustrates the truth of the First World War. It is one brief

:27:18.:27:24.

stanza by ready at Kipling, who was a great cheerleader for the war and

:27:25.:27:30.

all patriotic causes, so much so that he managed to pull a few

:27:31.:27:33.

strings, to make sure that his son, who had defective eyesight, could

:27:34.:27:39.

pass the test are getting to become a soldier, and then lost his life.

:27:40.:27:47.

Kipling had a picture of what happened when he died and went to

:27:48.:27:51.

heaven and was forced to cede those people that he'd encouraged to go to

:27:52.:27:58.

war and lose their lives. He said," I could not did, I do not rob,

:27:59.:28:04.

therefore I lied to police the mob. Now all my lies have proved untrue,

:28:05.:28:10.

I must face the men ice blue. What tale should serve me among my angry

:28:11.:28:21.

and defrauded young?" . The use of that

:28:22.:28:29.

. They were not wicked people, they had all kinds of heroic delusions,

:28:30.:28:38.

but we mustn't see Passchendaele through a fog of a belief of a false

:28:39.:28:49.

idea of heroism. It wasn't like that. It rapidly became a terrible

:28:50.:28:54.

scene of slaughter, where men died like cattle, where lives were

:28:55.:29:01.

counted, 16 million deaths from there. What is our lesson? Have we

:29:02.:29:07.

learned it yet? I doubt if we have, because we have heard the word"

:29:08.:29:15.

wonderful" used this afternoon about that battle. What it can mean I've

:29:16.:29:20.

no idea. There is no way anyone can describe the whole of the First

:29:21.:29:23.

World War as a terrible, terrible mistake and a series of tragedies.

:29:24.:29:29.

The use of the word wonderful in this context is about the issue of

:29:30.:29:33.

admiration for the heroism and the courage. The honourable member for

:29:34.:29:39.

Wiltshire North or South used the word wonder. When you look at what

:29:40.:29:42.

happened. Today happens to be the anniversary of my own father's death

:29:43.:29:54.

in the battle an July the 13th 1944. I have personal experience of it. I

:29:55.:29:58.

know the honourable gentleman has referred to his, but the word

:29:59.:30:02.

wonderful in this context is an admiration for the heroism and

:30:03.:30:08.

courage and I will not apologise for that.

:30:09.:30:12.

I think it is entirely true to say there is a nobility in the soldiers'

:30:13.:30:17.

craft and sacrifice. We are grateful to it to this day, and we see acts

:30:18.:30:28.

in Kosovo and Sierra Leone, the humanitarian work done there, which

:30:29.:30:35.

are absolutely defensible and in matters we can take great pride. We

:30:36.:30:38.

have had a wonderful military history and once you've been shown

:30:39.:30:44.

the best of human nature, I would not disagree with the honourable

:30:45.:30:49.

gentleman with that. But what are we learning today? If we look at what

:30:50.:30:55.

happened in this chamber in 2006, where a decision was made to send

:30:56.:31:02.

troops into Helmand at a time when only half of dozen of our soldiers

:31:03.:31:09.

had been killed at that time, we had already been there for six years

:31:10.:31:14.

since 2001. We went there in the belief that not a short would be

:31:15.:31:20.

fired. The result of it was 450 of our soldiers died. We've yet to face

:31:21.:31:28.

up to the reality... Was that a mistake by us? We know the Chilcot

:31:29.:31:32.

Report has come out. Lord Chilcott has had to a year later, repeat some

:31:33.:31:38.

of the lessons that he drew from it because those lessons have been lost

:31:39.:31:42.

over. There's been a spinning of reality, of his own conclusions, and

:31:43.:31:48.

I believe part of it is because so many people in this chamber at that

:31:49.:31:56.

time were part of a mistake in our joining the Iraq war, we couldn't

:31:57.:31:59.

stop the War happening but we could have stopped Britain's involvement

:32:00.:32:02.

in it, which would have avoided the depths of our soldiers.

:32:03.:32:07.

I'd just like to slightly pursue this point because I don't think

:32:08.:32:13.

there's much difference between us in terms of the reasons behind what

:32:14.:32:19.

are different arguments. I simply make the argument that although the

:32:20.:32:23.

pity of War, as it was so aptly put it, is a terrible thing, the fact is

:32:24.:32:27.

that we have to reflect on the simple fact that sometimes it is

:32:28.:32:31.

necessary with unprovoked aggression, as we experienced in the

:32:32.:32:36.

Second World War, does lead to us having to fight back that doesn't

:32:37.:32:40.

necessarily involve the cost of peoples lives, like my father and

:32:41.:32:44.

others, and I would simply say that we have to be very careful when

:32:45.:32:49.

defining the boundaries of this matter to ensure we don't go

:32:50.:32:53.

overboard in suggesting that somehow rather the whole of war is in itself

:32:54.:32:57.

is unacceptable because unfortunately it is the fact of life

:32:58.:33:02.

and we do have to fight for it and respect and admire the heroism of

:33:03.:33:06.

those who take part. There really isn't any difference and I never

:33:07.:33:10.

suggested it was a justification for war. I gave examples of what I

:33:11.:33:16.

thought were entirely justifiable wars. What we should be recalling

:33:17.:33:21.

what lessons we learned from Passchendaele and the First World

:33:22.:33:24.

War in the decisions we take now in this House. I once had a five-week

:33:25.:33:29.

enforced absence from this House for saying what I'm about to say, but I

:33:30.:33:34.

will say it in a more delicate way, and that was, I did say that

:33:35.:33:42.

ministers on all sides were mistaken and were by the claim they were

:33:43.:33:50.

making to potential soldiers that they could go to Afghanistan and

:33:51.:33:54.

reduce the threat of terrorism in this country. I think that was an

:33:55.:33:58.

untruth because whatever the reason was that our soldiers were being

:33:59.:34:03.

killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan was because they were there. There

:34:04.:34:10.

was no interest from the Taliban in terrorism and that particular call

:34:11.:34:15.

to soldiers to do that for that purpose was not true, though I still

:34:16.:34:21.

believe we are in a position where politicians lie and soldiers die and

:34:22.:34:25.

unless we can be frank with them, I think we're going to find a

:34:26.:34:30.

generation who will reject war. It was interesting when general Dunnett

:34:31.:34:33.

said recently that he didn't want people to believe what Chilcott was

:34:34.:34:38.

saying, this was only a matter of days ago, because it would suggest

:34:39.:34:45.

to those who have lost their loved ones in Iraq that they died in vain.

:34:46.:34:49.

But sadly, that's probably the truth because we had nothing to gain,

:34:50.:34:56.

unlike the First World War, whose main result was the Second World

:34:57.:35:00.

War. It led to the Second World War. It was a terrible error. We have a

:35:01.:35:08.

duty, I think, to look at the opinions of those soldiers who

:35:09.:35:11.

fought at the time. None of them are alive now and the loss when he died

:35:12.:35:16.

left us a message when he said that he thought war was legalised murder.

:35:17.:35:21.

And there are many other soldiers whose lives were destroyed by that

:35:22.:35:26.

war, lives were shortened, and I feel particular pain that in the

:35:27.:35:31.

case of my own father, though his life was ruined by the war, he could

:35:32.:35:36.

never do what he called a proper man's job again, but in 1935 his

:35:37.:35:41.

pension was reduced by a Government that changed the pension and said

:35:42.:35:48.

that his health problems, he went in the perfectly fit 15-year-old,

:35:49.:35:55.

health problems went attributed to his wall wins, they were worsened by

:35:56.:36:01.

his wall wins, a cheat by the Government and he died shortly

:36:02.:36:07.

afterwards. We don't have a history of treating owl veterans with the --

:36:08.:36:13.

our veterans with the respect they deserve. From the Great War, we must

:36:14.:36:22.

learn that we never again repeat the lie that it is sweet and decorous to

:36:23.:36:28.

die for the country. It is not true and it is an old lie, sadly, that

:36:29.:36:33.

people would like to give new credence to. Well, thank you, Madam

:36:34.:36:41.

Deputy Speaker. I really want to talk about the situation 100 years

:36:42.:36:50.

ago. We have to remember that at the time, this time 100 years ago, a

:36:51.:36:56.

quarter of the vessels crossing the Atlantic were being sunk and they

:36:57.:37:01.

were being sunk by U-boats and those U-boats were coming from the Belgian

:37:02.:37:09.

coast. And the Navy had warned the Government that unless something was

:37:10.:37:13.

done about it, we might collapse in 1918. The United States had entered

:37:14.:37:24.

the war on the 6th of April. That was really great from our point of

:37:25.:37:31.

view. But in May and June, the French army had been massively

:37:32.:37:37.

defeated by the Germans, with the result of a huge mutiny among all

:37:38.:37:44.

its ranks. At the same time, the British generals wanted to break out

:37:45.:37:51.

of the Ypres salient is. So the Germans had a very good reason to

:37:52.:37:55.

believe that they could win the war at that time. They flout the

:37:56.:38:01.

Americans wouldn't get into it in time -- they felt the Americans

:38:02.:38:08.

wouldn't get into it in time. And that is understandable, because the

:38:09.:38:14.

American army was very small, a bit obsolete and they didn't have very

:38:15.:38:22.

many weapons. Field Marshall and hide, the person in charge of the

:38:23.:38:26.

expeditionary force desperately wanted to break out of the Ypres

:38:27.:38:31.

salient. They had been stuck there for years. But he also wanted to get

:38:32.:38:37.

to the coast, because this strategic aim was to get to those U-boat pens

:38:38.:38:43.

and stop us being throttled by being attacked by torpedoes from such

:38:44.:38:49.

U-boats. The plan was quite simple. There was a preliminary operation

:38:50.:38:54.

which other friends have mentioned to secure the Salman -- southern

:38:55.:39:04.

flank of the British position. First phase, take out the railway junction

:39:05.:39:16.

at Roulay and then swing round to the coast. That went very wrong,

:39:17.:39:24.

despite being the plan. I want to speak about the soldiers. By 1917,

:39:25.:39:30.

machine gunners had become what were called the Queens of the

:39:31.:39:35.

battlefield. They were devastating. The rifle was, by comparison with a

:39:36.:39:40.

machine gun, absolutely useless. The 1st Battalion of the Cheshire

:39:41.:39:45.

Regiment, the battalion I was to command 74 years later, had been

:39:46.:39:50.

equipped the year before with 16 Lewis machine guns. Now, these

:39:51.:39:56.

machine guns were pretty heavy. They were ?28 in weight. That's not

:39:57.:40:02.

including the ammunition. Now, our soldiers had to carry that. Nobody

:40:03.:40:09.

really wanted to take a machine gun as they crossed the front line for

:40:10.:40:17.

two reasons. One, they were an easy target and two, the weight they had

:40:18.:40:25.

to carry. As space carried across no man's land, going as fast as they

:40:26.:40:30.

could, but it was difficult to go faster in those conditions. At the

:40:31.:40:39.

same time, by the start of the third Battle of Passchendaele, our

:40:40.:40:42.

soldiers had been issued with that awful helmet. They called them tin

:40:43.:40:54.

hats. I wore one when I first joined the Army. I'm that old. And they

:40:55.:41:00.

were acutely uncomfortable and very heavy. And, again, that made it

:41:01.:41:09.

difficult for our soldiers when they scrambled out of their front line

:41:10.:41:13.

positions to go and because they'd had one hell of a winter. 1916 to

:41:14.:41:22.

1917 had been incredibly cold. The soldiers only received one hot meal

:41:23.:41:26.

a day and that was brought forward normally by the quartermaster in

:41:27.:41:33.

boxes that were lined with straw. Fatigue -- 40, they brewed it up

:41:34.:41:36.

themselves. They normally used old Jan tins which they filled up with

:41:37.:41:43.

Greece and put a week in their two sort of make a flame on which they

:41:44.:41:52.

could put some pot to heat up water. At the same time every day, the

:41:53.:41:56.

quartermaster tried to bring up to the front line positions clean

:41:57.:42:03.

socks, because trench but was appalling and it was so wet and the

:42:04.:42:10.

men needed to actually try to keep their feet dry and that was almost

:42:11.:42:15.

impossible in the conditions of the time. It was good that in my

:42:16.:42:21.

battalion some of the soldiers had been allowed leave. They'd gone home

:42:22.:42:26.

and come back. But they knew down well what they were coming back to.

:42:27.:42:31.

And that's why they're heroes, because they came back. They came

:42:32.:42:36.

back from home, where they saw normality. War is not normality. War

:42:37.:42:44.

is disgusting and horrid. And war is something to be avoided. Heroism is

:42:45.:42:52.

going back to that because, as the honourable member for Broadlands has

:42:53.:42:57.

outlined, they didn't want to let their friends down. Even then, in

:42:58.:43:08.

the middle of the war, when reinforcements were coming, the

:43:09.:43:12.

reinforcements that were coming to my battalion, the 1st Battalion of

:43:13.:43:16.

the Cheshire 's, where being divided -- diverted. You would think before

:43:17.:43:24.

the battle that they would be fully manned. They weren't. They didn't

:43:25.:43:29.

even have enough troops to go along the front. They had to do little

:43:30.:43:34.

posts along the front line, hoping that they could cover the area in

:43:35.:43:40.

front of the battalion position. They knew down well -- damn well

:43:41.:43:53.

what would happen when the signal for advance was given. They had been

:43:54.:44:00.

there long enough. On the 31st of July, very early in the morning,

:44:01.:44:09.

3:50am, just as Dawn was breaking, the battalion 's offices blew the

:44:10.:44:15.

whistle is. Can you imagine how absolutely terrified our soldiers

:44:16.:44:27.

were. They must have had a hell of a night to that time. They were laden

:44:28.:44:32.

with ammunition, they were laden with kit, they were laden with Lewis

:44:33.:44:38.

machine guns. And some of the soldiers, as the start time was

:44:39.:44:46.

declared, some soldiers were being delivered by train ride to the front

:44:47.:44:51.

line. They disembarked and went straight in across the start line

:44:52.:44:55.

into the battle. When they went into no man's land, it wasn't a run. It

:44:56.:45:04.

wasn't even a walk. It was more like a crawl, I would think. No man's

:45:05.:45:09.

land was full of wire obstacles which sometimes get worse by

:45:10.:45:15.

artillery fire. And of course, within hours, that rain came. The

:45:16.:45:25.

worst rain for 30 years. The men couldn't even get into the shallow

:45:26.:45:29.

holes because they were full of water. So they are absolute sitting

:45:30.:45:38.

ducks, covered in filth, trying to go forward, absolutely exhausted.

:45:39.:45:50.

And yet, they did. Some of them sank to their waists in the mud, right

:45:51.:45:55.

down to their waists. It took six soldiers for them to be pulled out.

:45:56.:46:01.

Stretcher bearers couldn't move. There was no chance of stretcher

:46:02.:46:08.

bearers moving in that mud at all. Our soldiers weren't brave, of

:46:09.:46:14.

course they were brave, but what they really experienced was terror.

:46:15.:46:23.

They thought within minutes, within seconds, they would be dead. Perhaps

:46:24.:46:32.

they prayed it would be a headshot. The soldiers prayer is a headshot,

:46:33.:46:38.

straight out. Not a wound in the stomach or a wound in the abdomen

:46:39.:46:44.

which no one gets to them and they lie there in agony for hours. Days.

:46:45.:46:52.

And sometimes, just slip under the mud and drown while they're at it.

:46:53.:46:57.

I think I've got some idea of what they felt, because I have advanced

:46:58.:47:07.

when someone beside me has been shot. I knew I had to go, because I

:47:08.:47:14.

had to go and get some civilians, and I'm talking about Bosnia. But I

:47:15.:47:22.

wasn't a hero. I wasn't brave, I was bloody terrified. I was so

:47:23.:47:32.

terrified, I wet myself. That's not bravery. What mattered is that we

:47:33.:47:39.

went forward and did our duty. Now, our soldiers did that. They didn't

:47:40.:47:47.

want to die. That's the last thing they wanted to do. They wanted to

:47:48.:47:55.

survive. Passchendaele was a stalemate for four months, while our

:47:56.:48:06.

men were sitting ducks. It was a disgusting, exhausting, traumatic

:48:07.:48:15.

experience for anyone that was there, and it cost both sides

:48:16.:48:21.

dearly. I don't think we know exactly what the figures are, but

:48:22.:48:29.

say the British were around 310,000, and the Germans were 260,000, dead,

:48:30.:48:37.

dead. Three times as many casualties who survived. The ratio is one dead,

:48:38.:48:44.

three wounded, that's what the ratio was then. Douglas Haig later

:48:45.:48:51.

justified what happened, by saying it was necessary because we could

:48:52.:48:54.

take more casualties than the Germans because we had more

:48:55.:48:58.

resources on that made it worthwhile. If a general tried that

:48:59.:49:05.

today, can you imagine that? That justification, for the mass

:49:06.:49:08.

slaughter that occurred at Passchendaele? I thought it was OK,

:49:09.:49:13.

because actually we could take more casualties than they could, so in

:49:14.:49:20.

the end, we'd win. I think we remember them all, British, German,

:49:21.:49:25.

Commonwealth, today. Thank you. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, for

:49:26.:49:40.

allowing me to make my maiden speech in this very important debate.

:49:41.:49:51.

It seems fitting to have this debate about Passchendaele. Many did not

:49:52.:49:56.

come back home. It is not lost on me today that the sacrifices they made

:49:57.:50:05.

those 100 years ago, have led to the freedoms, rights and opportunities

:50:06.:50:08.

that I'm proudly expressing today. I am deeply honoured, not only to

:50:09.:50:16.

have been chosen by the people in my constituency to represent them as a

:50:17.:50:20.

member of Parliament, but also to be the first ethnic minority candidate

:50:21.:50:24.

to do so. I made the journey from Kashmir to

:50:25.:50:31.

Bradford in 1992. Soon I was married and working in a factory. Later I

:50:32.:50:38.

became a taxi driver, which I continued to do up until my

:50:39.:50:43.

elections to the parliament. I can honestly say the moment I arrived to

:50:44.:50:50.

Bradford, I made it my home, but ever since it is Bedford that has

:50:51.:50:56.

paid me and I am very grateful for that. I wanted to do more for the

:50:57.:51:03.

community that had welcomed me, and so I became a councillor for Queens

:51:04.:51:09.

Park Road in 2006. Earlier this year I took the next step and was

:51:10.:51:15.

selected to set down for my party as a labour candidate. Many people said

:51:16.:51:20.

that I stood no chance, that Labour could not possibly win back in

:51:21.:51:30.

Bedford, but they proved them wrong. With the report of my friends and

:51:31.:51:33.

fellow councillors, my wonderful family, I'm so thankful to my wife,

:51:34.:51:40.

my mother and my four children and my new grandson who fought the

:51:41.:51:47.

campaign that delivered the constituency back to radar. I'm

:51:48.:51:53.

immensely proud to be part of the Labour bench, whose Shadow Cabinet

:51:54.:51:57.

has the highest number of ethnic minority MPs ever, because it means

:51:58.:52:03.

the population is more fairly represented than it ever has been

:52:04.:52:07.

before. I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor Richard Fuller,

:52:08.:52:16.

who has worked so hard over the last seven years for the community. The

:52:17.:52:20.

Bedford business School, set up by Richard, has been a great success

:52:21.:52:28.

and is a legacy that he is rightly very proud of. I would like to thank

:52:29.:52:35.

Bedford's previous MP, Patrick, for his years of dedicated service.

:52:36.:52:40.

There are people from more than 50 countries already living and settled

:52:41.:52:48.

in Bedford and Kempston, which has made the area the most ethnically

:52:49.:52:52.

diverse town in the United Kingdom, in proportion to its size. All kinds

:52:53.:52:58.

of people have settled here, Madam Deputy Speaker, from the eastern

:52:59.:53:01.

Europeans and Italians who arrived after the Second World War, who have

:53:02.:53:06.

remained in Britain, to others like myself, arriving home recently. It

:53:07.:53:13.

is this which makes my constituency so very special. Bedford is warmer,

:53:14.:53:21.

it is welcoming, it is neighbourly and it is compassionate. Differences

:53:22.:53:26.

and diversity of faith, colour and creed is not just tolerated but

:53:27.:53:33.

celebrated in this town. Churches, mosques, gurdwaras, faith groups,

:53:34.:53:36.

charitable organisations throughout my constituency work together to

:53:37.:53:41.

build upon the diversity and to support those who have been affected

:53:42.:53:47.

by so many years of austerity and damaging cuts. Bedford has strong

:53:48.:53:55.

art scenes. Our cultural heritage is celebrated in Bedford with many

:53:56.:53:58.

festivals, not least the biannual river festival that attracts a

:53:59.:54:02.

quarter of a million people to the beautiful riverside. We are a tonne

:54:03.:54:11.

of sports people, Bedford blues, Bedford eagles, Queens Park and

:54:12.:54:14.

Kempston cricket clubs, we have rowing clubs, sailing clubs and our

:54:15.:54:24.

international athletics track. We have proud Olympians and

:54:25.:54:33.

Paralympians, and then there is someone still running the London

:54:34.:54:36.

Marathon at the age of 88. People talk to me a lot during the

:54:37.:54:39.

election, they talk about their concerns, about schooling, about

:54:40.:54:46.

cuts to policing, but above all that, they talk about the NHS. At

:54:47.:54:51.

the very heart of our town is Bedford Hospital. My children and

:54:52.:54:54.

grandson were born there. I want to make sure that the hospital stays at

:54:55.:55:03.

the heart of my constituency. Two years ago, Bedford Hospital saved my

:55:04.:55:07.

wife's life when she suffered a heart attack. I could never repay

:55:08.:55:11.

the staff for all they did for us. So let me say this now, the future

:55:12.:55:16.

of our hospital and its services have been in doubt for far too long,

:55:17.:55:22.

since 2011, under the Government, under this government and the last.

:55:23.:55:28.

A string of expensive and inconclusive reviews have cast a

:55:29.:55:32.

shadow over the hospital, lining the pockets of many wild front work

:55:33.:55:43.

staff go without pay rises. It is hard to recruit and retain staff and

:55:44.:55:46.

has caused many concerns for the community. As the MP for Bedford and

:55:47.:55:53.

Kempston I will fight every day to keep the services we need in our

:55:54.:55:58.

grand town, so many constituents don't have to travel 20 miles or 50

:55:59.:56:03.

miles to access life-saving services, or to travel 60 miles to

:56:04.:56:12.

access justice if plans to close Bedford courts go ahead. I want

:56:13.:56:16.

babies to continue to be born in Bedford and Kempston, where they can

:56:17.:56:21.

grow up in a fairer society, where they can access equal opportunities

:56:22.:56:26.

and realise there are true potential in families that feel proud and part

:56:27.:56:30.

of their community. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.

:56:31.:56:35.

Thank you, Madam Deputy is bigger. A pleasure to follow the honourable

:56:36.:56:42.

member of Bedford and I can rate him on his speech and I am sure it is

:56:43.:56:48.

the first of many. Madam Deputy Speaker, the debate today has

:56:49.:56:53.

focused on the third Battle of Passchendaele, and has been

:56:54.:56:56.

described as a long campaign, which took place over several months.

:56:57.:57:02.

Indeed, it is an honour to hear my honourable friend in the chamber to

:57:03.:57:05.

describe the fear he knows first-hand, of what it's like to be

:57:06.:57:11.

in combat. I think it was a very powerful speech, anti-has the

:57:12.:57:14.

respect of all of us for what he said. I want to focus on a

:57:15.:57:19.

particular area of the battle. -- and he has the respect of all of us.

:57:20.:57:24.

At the end of August 1917, Field Marshal Haig replaced the general.

:57:25.:57:34.

Apparently he was an efficient and methodical commander and assembled a

:57:35.:57:38.

competent staff who are demonstrated their abilities as a team in a

:57:39.:57:50.

previous operation in Messine. At the end of August 1917 he was

:57:51.:57:54.

thought to lead the next big attack and took three weeks to prepare and

:57:55.:57:58.

plan, then there was a lull in fighting Rusty gathered his

:57:59.:58:05.

resources. -- whilst he carried his resources.

:58:06.:58:12.

The weather turned to the advantage of the British. The continuous rain

:58:13.:58:18.

turned the battle and that quagmire letter to ten whole days. In the

:58:19.:58:23.

relatively dry ground, they dug trenches and repaired the roads. The

:58:24.:58:29.

skills and techniques of the artillery were refined over the

:58:30.:58:32.

preceding three years and they made use of this. When the artillery

:58:33.:58:39.

opened fire on September 20, they did so in planet formation. Guns

:58:40.:58:42.

were concentrated to provide one for every 5.2 yards of ground to be

:58:43.:58:48.

attacked and infantry advanced behind the shelter of the creeping

:58:49.:58:52.

barrage, one of the great innovations of the law. -- of the

:58:53.:58:53.

war. We are today rightly discussing and

:58:54.:59:05.

commemorating the people who sacrificed their lives on the

:59:06.:59:09.

battlefield in this battle, but equally, in my city of Leeds, where

:59:10.:59:15.

I am proud to represent, we have bombed Brower armouries and in the

:59:16.:59:19.

First World War we had something called the Leeds Canaries, which

:59:20.:59:23.

were the women in Leeds who worked making the munitions that would have

:59:24.:59:28.

been used in this battle, so-called Canaries because the TNT turned

:59:29.:59:32.

their skin yellow. They knew they were being poisoned. They knew they

:59:33.:59:40.

were likely to become sterile and on Tuesday the 5th of December 1916,

:59:41.:59:44.

there was an explosion and 35 women were killed instantly in that

:59:45.:59:51.

explosion. I want to take the opportunity to commemorate them

:59:52.:59:54.

again today, and they have been commemorated before, because when

:59:55.:59:58.

that explosion happened, the War office so they couldn't release the

:59:59.:00:02.

names of those women in their obituaries at the time, because they

:00:03.:00:06.

did on the enemies to know where the munitions were being made. And so

:00:07.:00:10.

over the next year, one woman a week had their own obituary in the

:00:11.:00:15.

Yorkshire Post, and very much crossed over what they were actually

:00:16.:00:22.

doing. So there were many casualties back home, directly involved in

:00:23.:00:27.

these battles as there were people dying on the front line. I will...

:00:28.:00:34.

Thank you. Richard Pinkett, a constituent in my

:00:35.:00:40.

constituency posts regularly on Facebook the people who died in the

:00:41.:00:46.

many different battles during World War I. Ypres is much bigger than it

:00:47.:00:57.

was and it doesn't show it was just the people killed over there but the

:00:58.:01:00.

families affected in the local region, and so many families, in so

:01:01.:01:05.

many communities, who were affected by the deaths of their sons. My

:01:06.:01:10.

honourable friend mentions the women, who very bravely helped with

:01:11.:01:16.

that. I think we have to remember the people back home, as well as

:01:17.:01:22.

those on the front line. There is a flag in the memorial garden that is

:01:23.:01:27.

lowered to half-mast every time we commemorate the 100 years since one

:01:28.:01:31.

of those young men died. I think it is a testament to local people that

:01:32.:01:33.

we don't forget those people. I am most grateful for my honourable

:01:34.:01:40.

friend making that point as powerfully as she has and I think

:01:41.:01:46.

that all of us have, or certainly all of us will have, examples in our

:01:47.:01:53.

own constituencies from all of these wars and I'm sure that everyone of

:01:54.:01:58.

us is their own Remembrance Sunday to pay our respects, no matter how

:01:59.:02:03.

long ago their death was. Madam Deputy Speaker, on the 20th of

:02:04.:02:07.

September, there was a early-morning mist and the temperature was about

:02:08.:02:13.

66 Fahrenheit. The main thrust of the advance was on the Menin Road

:02:14.:02:25.

and towards the town of Menin. The advance was successful but Tower

:02:26.:02:29.

Hamlets remained in German hands. Remarkable advances were made on

:02:30.:02:38.

Menin Road itself. Inverness cops was taken, a long target of British

:02:39.:02:43.

attacks. The Germans held the strongly fortified Eagle farm and

:02:44.:02:51.

evil trench. The 11th grade -- 11th and 12th rifle brigades and the

:02:52.:02:55.

Buckinghamshire Light Infantry were in charge of trying to take those.

:02:56.:03:02.

They took Eagle farm and tried for Eagle trench. They secured a section

:03:03.:03:08.

of Eagle trench and for three days it was divided between the Germans

:03:09.:03:15.

and the British. I want to focus on the birthday of the battle, for when

:03:16.:03:26.

I was a our family visited the Tynecot Cemetery and on the back is

:03:27.:03:35.

the name of my great-grandfather. He was killed on the first day of the

:03:36.:03:40.

battle. He was born on Christmas eve and managed -- married in 1915. His

:03:41.:03:50.

son, my grandfather, was born and he used to walk through the Blackwall

:03:51.:03:55.

Tunnel to court to my great-grandmother. His father, my

:03:56.:04:01.

great great grandfather was killed at a gas explosion in Poplar

:04:02.:04:09.

gasworks in 1841. Ted joined up in April 1916 because he had white

:04:10.:04:14.

feathered in Greenwich and it had played on his mind. He was not

:04:15.:04:18.

liable to be called up as he was a married man. That all changed in

:04:19.:04:24.

June 1916 when the second act was passed and married men were

:04:25.:04:28.

included, but he signed up before then. His wife pleaded with him not

:04:29.:04:34.

to do it and to think of the baby but he was determined to serve his

:04:35.:04:39.

king, his country and, more importantly, because he understood

:04:40.:04:44.

the consequences of us sitting and not doing anything. He joined the

:04:45.:04:48.

King's Royal Rifle Corps who were stationed at Winchester and that's

:04:49.:04:52.

where he did his original training. My family don't have his military

:04:53.:04:56.

records so I don't know when he embarked to France but my aunt has a

:04:57.:05:07.

postcode -- pass -- postcard dated July 20 17. His younger

:05:08.:05:14.

brother-in-law joined up with him in...

:05:15.:05:42.

No one knows whether they were blown to pieces fell into one of the

:05:43.:05:49.

flooded shell holes and drowned. His body was never found and that is why

:05:50.:05:54.

he's on the wall the back of the Tynecot search -- Tynecot Cemetery

:05:55.:06:05.

along with thousands of other men. My great-grandmother could not

:06:06.:06:10.

accept that he had died and his body was not found. That also relates to

:06:11.:06:19.

the lasting effects of the war mentioned in this House today. For

:06:20.:06:27.

three years, may shell court wrote for three years to see if he had

:06:28.:06:35.

been taken prisoner. When she was sent the famous war penny, she threw

:06:36.:06:39.

it across the room and said I don't want a penny, I want my husband. She

:06:40.:06:44.

had to work to support her son and got a job in the Charlton glassworks

:06:45.:06:50.

and stayed there until she retired. Her son George became a precious

:06:51.:06:54.

member of the family and proved to be a bright child but his

:06:55.:07:00.

grandmother was a strict matriarch and wanted him to leave school as

:07:01.:07:07.

soon as possible and work in a shop. Again, the ongoing consequences of

:07:08.:07:10.

this terrible war, because as the only son of a widowed mother, the

:07:11.:07:15.

family was saying, I'm sorry, you have to go out and provide for our

:07:16.:07:21.

family, you have to do work. But for those who sort of know me, it will

:07:22.:07:26.

come as no surprise that there is a streak in my family of rebellion.

:07:27.:07:32.

And George rebelled at this. George rebelled at this and when he left

:07:33.:07:37.

school at 14 he found a job as a laboratory technician at an old

:07:38.:07:41.

company on the Isle of dogs. He went to Woolwich Polytechnic in the

:07:42.:07:46.

evenings, eventually running his own department researching electrical

:07:47.:07:51.

installation oils. In September 1940, George married lady father had

:07:52.:07:58.

also fought a Passchendaele. He was born on the 15th of November 1885 in

:07:59.:08:04.

India. His father was in the Royal Horse Artillery in India. He was

:08:05.:08:08.

educated at the Duke of York's Royal military school and the Royal

:08:09.:08:12.

Hyperion military school. He enlisted into the Royal The Dale

:08:13.:08:18.

Artillery and transferred to the Army reserve on the 29th of February

:08:19.:08:25.

19 12. He reverted on the 29th of July 1913 and mobilised at Glasgow

:08:26.:08:31.

on the 6th of August 19 14. Transferred to the Royal Engineers

:08:32.:08:36.

signals and April 1916, he was awarded the military medal in July

:08:37.:08:39.

1917 for gallant contact and devotion to duty. Now, we don't have

:08:40.:08:48.

the medal citation but we understand that he was repairing telephone

:08:49.:08:52.

cables in no man's land under fire and again, I think the experience as

:08:53.:08:56.

outlined by my honourable friend for backing them must tell us all the

:08:57.:09:01.

fear that he was going through, sat like a sitting duck in the middle of

:09:02.:09:07.

no man's land repairing vital communications. He was gassed on the

:09:08.:09:11.

4th of November 1917 a Passchendaele, two days before the

:09:12.:09:15.

battle ended and was discharged on the 15th of March 19 19. He died in

:09:16.:09:24.

1952. But the trauma of the First World War was still at the front of

:09:25.:09:29.

people's minds but only just after a couple of decades later, this

:09:30.:09:34.

country was again at war. To the relief of George's mother, May, his

:09:35.:09:42.

rebellion in becoming a scientist placed him on the reserved

:09:43.:09:45.

occupations list at the beginning of the Second World War and he became

:09:46.:09:49.

an air raid Warren and fire watcher the Blitz. He explained to my

:09:50.:09:57.

father, who I am proud to say is in the gallery today, how he used to

:09:58.:10:01.

stand on the top of the oil tanks during a raid, armed with just a

:10:02.:10:08.

broom he would sweep the incendiary bombs of two men below who would

:10:09.:10:12.

throw them in the Thames. I think that is something we can barely

:10:13.:10:16.

imagine along with what happened. The danger and the threats and the

:10:17.:10:22.

loss of life were as great at home, especially in the Second World War,

:10:23.:10:28.

as they were at the front. He was eventually caught up in January 1944

:10:29.:10:31.

into the Irish Guards and after training he volunteered for the Ant

:10:32.:10:35.

division. He was very proud of his service in the guards and he sadly

:10:36.:10:41.

died in 1985 at the young age of 69. The impact on families after the

:10:42.:10:46.

Great War lasted decades longer than the war itself. My grandfather never

:10:47.:10:50.

knew his father and the trauma his mother must have felt must I been

:10:51.:10:54.

overwhelming when the Second World War started and her only sound was

:10:55.:10:58.

either put in danger as a fire warden and then eventually called up

:10:59.:11:02.

and sent to war. That sacrifice that we make our young make is through

:11:03.:11:08.

the failure of politicians like ourselves and it must never be

:11:09.:11:11.

forgotten. There is much I don't agree with my honourable colleague,

:11:12.:11:23.

but this I agree with. At our heart, I believe that every legal person in

:11:24.:11:28.

this chamber is fundamentally pacifist but we understand that war

:11:29.:11:31.

is a necessity at times and that there is a consequence to not taking

:11:32.:11:37.

action. If we do not take action, the loss of life can be greater. We

:11:38.:11:42.

are right to commemorate now, at this time, at this chronologically

:11:43.:11:48.

correct time, the sacrifice made and we do learn those lessons and we

:11:49.:11:53.

lived through those lessons and that's what we should do. My

:11:54.:11:56.

honourable friend for South West Wiltshire has done an incredible job

:11:57.:12:00.

and I've paid tribute to him over the last few years in making sure

:12:01.:12:04.

the centenary anniversary is used not just to remember what happened

:12:05.:12:08.

but to understand what happened and to educate new generations;

:12:09.:12:20.

generations who, as my honourable point -- honourable friend for

:12:21.:12:24.

Broadbent said, the Battle of Passchendaele is as distant for

:12:25.:12:29.

someone today as the Battle of Waterloo, but we have to understand

:12:30.:12:35.

why it happened and how we move a mountain. Once more, on the 20th of

:12:36.:12:39.

September this year, my family will once again visit Tynecot and see my

:12:40.:12:43.

great-grandfather's name on that will and take part in the

:12:44.:12:49.

commemoration to our countrymen and his comrades and those on opposing

:12:50.:12:54.

sides as well, as we remember the sacrifice made in that terrible war.

:12:55.:13:03.

It is a privilege to follow the honourable member with his poignant

:13:04.:13:11.

account of the Canaries and in particular his family history. As

:13:12.:13:14.

someone who grew up in south-east London as well, I appreciate many of

:13:15.:13:21.

the stories. My grandfather, Oliver Burke Frederik noise, and listed and

:13:22.:13:30.

saw service in the third Battle of Ypres. There have been Sony

:13:31.:13:35.

references already today to the people of Wales, all the people

:13:36.:13:42.

affected by this conflict and also particularly to headwind, who I

:13:43.:13:47.

would like to turn to now. Ellis Humphrey Evans, we have heard of the

:13:48.:13:56.

hundreds of thousands of casualties in the third Battle of Ypres, one

:13:57.:14:02.

described by David Lloyd George at the time is one of the greatest

:14:03.:14:09.

disasters of the war, and to his superior officers in the 15th

:14:10.:14:13.

battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, 30-year-old Ellis

:14:14.:14:17.

Humphrey Evans was just another recruit, can strip it -- conscripted

:14:18.:14:24.

into the army because of a service of Sun is working on a family farm.

:14:25.:14:30.

He died on the 31st of July. We have heard of the soldiers prayer. He was

:14:31.:14:34.

shot in the stomach and that's one of the most agonising things people

:14:35.:14:39.

can suffer from, shot in the very first day of the battle. There is a

:14:40.:14:46.

war memorial in the centre of his town which commemorates his death

:14:47.:14:51.

and the loss of 30 other men from his community and the nearby army

:14:52.:14:55.

camps. This, of course, is where the story changes key. Ellis Evans could

:14:56.:15:00.

just be the smudged portrait in a dog-eared photograph forgotten by

:15:01.:15:04.

the third generation, save for the fact that we don't remember him as

:15:05.:15:09.

Ellis Evans, save for the fact that we don't remember him as Alice Evans

:15:10.:15:16.

or Private 117, but as a very important poet. Ellis Evans, whose

:15:17.:15:33.

literary name was Heth Wyn, where men, and it must be said they were

:15:34.:15:40.

almost exclusively man, good win accolades in little cult poetry

:15:41.:15:46.

which can be traced over a millennium or more. 16 days before

:15:47.:15:51.

his death, Private Evans had posted his entry of the 1917 Eisteddfod of

:15:52.:15:56.

Wales to the adjudicators. He had come second in the previous year's

:15:57.:16:00.

Eisteddfod and he was never to know that this time he would be

:16:01.:16:05.

victorious. The winner of the Eisteddfod is awarded the chair. The

:16:06.:16:12.

winner's chair at the 1917 but then head Eisteddfod was straight in a

:16:13.:16:17.

black cloth, a black chair crafted by a Belgian refugee became, of

:16:18.:16:20.

course, the symbol of mourning for every Welsh speaking farmhouse,

:16:21.:16:25.

manse and workers cottage. The bond of tragedy to unite mothers bringing

:16:26.:16:29.

telegrams to the chapel minister to Our stories are are a common

:16:30.:16:39.

heritage and what we choose to remember becomes our history. Some

:16:40.:16:48.

stories are more retold than others. The Snowdonia National Park

:16:49.:16:51.

authority are to be commended for taking the initiative to bring

:16:52.:16:56.

together a national investment worth ?4 million with support also from

:16:57.:16:59.

National Heritage Memorial fund, Heritage lottery fund and Welsh

:17:00.:17:03.

Government. This money has enabled the purchase and renovation of Hedd

:17:04.:17:10.

Wyn's family farm. It has just reopened this year as a publicly

:17:11.:17:14.

owned treasure for the nation, perhaps the Minister might

:17:15.:17:19.

appreciate visiting. It is an impressive place. Before that,

:17:20.:17:25.

before this initiative was taken, Hedd Wyn's nephew, Geraint Williams

:17:26.:17:29.

made sure that the door was open to visitors. I remember taking my

:17:30.:17:34.

daughter, Lisa, there are years ago. Only the ground-floor could be

:17:35.:17:38.

visited. Kitchen to the left, parlour to the right. Kitchen, hooks

:17:39.:17:42.

in the rafters, fire is always in the range and it made an impression

:17:43.:17:48.

on me that this has pound family, layer upon layer of wallpaper to

:17:49.:17:53.

keep the place smart. To the right, the parlour. This is where you keep

:17:54.:17:59.

your Eisteddfod chair. And there it was, newspaper cuttings. Visitors

:18:00.:18:03.

could pour over it, you could put your hand on it. Brittle with

:18:04.:18:09.

Celtic, romantic Celtic ornamentation, the period and you

:18:10.:18:14.

could see, repaired with dark wax to reflect the colour of the dark wood.

:18:15.:18:19.

But this was of course history at its most vulnerable. There is a

:18:20.:18:24.

pathos in the solitary guardian, Geraint Williams, but it took almost

:18:25.:18:30.

a century for the authorities of Wales to committee their way to

:18:31.:18:34.

safeguarding the symbols of Wales's National War poet. The film Hedd Wyn

:18:35.:18:39.

was released in 2005 and became the first Welsh language film to be

:18:40.:18:43.

nominated for an Oscar. It is to the credit of the director, Paul Turner,

:18:44.:18:47.

and the scriptwriter that this film has been shown to generations of

:18:48.:18:53.

school students. To close, here it is Hedd Wyn's ending to his friend

:18:54.:19:01.

David Owen Evans, and you will find this on gravestones across Wales and

:19:02.:19:05.

also on the memorial to him. David Owen Evans was killed in the

:19:06.:19:06.

trenches. I would like to mention very

:19:07.:19:23.

closely, there has been some discussion about Pat assists'

:19:24.:19:28.

attitudes about celebrating the war. One thing that it would be

:19:29.:19:32.

beneficial if we could do in this place would be to put the energy and

:19:33.:19:36.

the time and the emotion and imagination and funding into

:19:37.:19:41.

building peace as vigorously as we do into dealing with water. Thank

:19:42.:19:49.

you Madam Deputy Speaker. There have been a remarkable series of speeches

:19:50.:19:54.

in this debate so far, not least the one we've just heard from the

:19:55.:20:00.

honourable lady, and I will not usurp the role of the Minister in

:20:01.:20:05.

singling any of them out for special mention other than to say in respect

:20:06.:20:10.

of the maiden's speech that we heard that the pride that the honourable

:20:11.:20:14.

member for Bedford 's takes in his town will no doubt incentivise him

:20:15.:20:20.

to be sure that Bedford will be proud of him by the way he conducts

:20:21.:20:28.

himself in this place. As other more knowledgeable speakers have already

:20:29.:20:32.

explained, a century after the appalling losses on the Western

:20:33.:20:40.

front, historians still debate whether any alternatives existed.

:20:41.:20:44.

Some blame political intrigue and poor generalship, others emphasise

:20:45.:20:51.

technology with a battlefield dominated by interlocking fields of

:20:52.:20:56.

fire. This ensured that slowly advancing troops would be mown down

:20:57.:21:03.

by machine guns before making any worthwhile inroads into the enemies'

:21:04.:21:08.

trenches. Minor advances, occasionally achieved, were usually

:21:09.:21:14.

reversed by counterattacks or simply absorbed into a static confrontation

:21:15.:21:21.

a short distance from the original one. Now, there's a book called

:21:22.:21:25.

Forgotten Victor Beat and it is a study of the Western front battles

:21:26.:21:30.

which rightly draws attention to the 100 days campaign in which the

:21:31.:21:37.

allied coalition won a sequence of decisive victories between mid-July

:21:38.:21:44.

and early November 1918. Its author, Professor Gary Sheffield, regrets

:21:45.:21:49.

the extent to which the British success in those battles at the end

:21:50.:21:55.

of the First World War has been disregarded. He says, for example,

:21:56.:22:00.

the burden of fighting the German army fell mainly to the French and

:22:01.:22:05.

the Russians in the first two and a half years of the war, but in 1918,

:22:06.:22:10.

it was the turn of the PEF, the British expeditionary Force. Between

:22:11.:22:14.

them, the French, Americans and Belgians took 196,700 prisoners and

:22:15.:22:24.

3775 guns between 18 July and the end of the war. With a smaller army

:22:25.:22:32.

than the French, Hague's forces captured 188,700 prisoners and 2840

:22:33.:22:39.

guns in the same period. This was by far the greatest military victory in

:22:40.:22:46.

British history. So it absolutely right, Madam Deputy Speaker, that as

:22:47.:22:50.

well as commemorating all the disasters of World War I, one of

:22:51.:22:54.

which we are commemorating today, we will next year be recognising the

:22:55.:23:02.

triumph of the Battle of Anya in August 1918 and like others who have

:23:03.:23:06.

spoken in the debates, I pay the warmest tribute to my honourable and

:23:07.:23:10.

gallant friend for South West Wiltshire for all the great work he

:23:11.:23:16.

has done in this rolling series of commemorations of events, failures

:23:17.:23:21.

and successes, of the First World War. Now, Professor Sheffield, who I

:23:22.:23:28.

refer to a moment ago, takes his thesis a bit further down I feel

:23:29.:23:36.

able to go because he suggests that the catastrophic offensives prior to

:23:37.:23:42.

1918 were in some way needed to enable the Allied generals to learn

:23:43.:23:47.

the lessons they eventually applied to be successful campaign at the end

:23:48.:23:53.

of the war. But I feel that one should not have two waste the lives

:23:54.:23:59.

of regions of soldiers in relentless repetition of unsuccessful tactics

:24:00.:24:06.

time and again, those tactics failed to break the stalemate or failed to

:24:07.:24:11.

be exploited when occasionally the actually managed to achieve

:24:12.:24:16.

surprise. After the catastrophe on the Somme in 1916, there was really

:24:17.:24:21.

no reason to believe that a breakthrough could be made and

:24:22.:24:26.

exploited with the available technology of the day. Yet this was

:24:27.:24:34.

a attempted not once but twice in 1917 because first came the Battle

:24:35.:24:40.

of harassed which was the second of the three huge attritional offences

:24:41.:24:46.

waged by the British Army in 1916-17. On the first day of the

:24:47.:24:52.

attack, 9th of April 1917, the British third Army took 5600

:24:53.:24:58.

prisoners and the Canadians, who had captured most of Vimy Ridge, a

:24:59.:25:03.

further 3400. This has been called the greatest success of the British

:25:04.:25:07.

expeditionary Force since the beginning of trench warfare. Yet the

:25:08.:25:13.

British advance soon ran out of steam as German reinforcements

:25:14.:25:16.

arrived and the British fifth Army had little to show for the heavy

:25:17.:25:21.

losses it had sustained. Further major effort on the 23rd of April

:25:22.:25:27.

and the 3rd of May 1917 partly intended to tie down forces which

:25:28.:25:30.

might other wives have been used against the French simply added to

:25:31.:25:37.

the butchery on both sides. Now, in the spring of 1917, Russia was in

:25:38.:25:43.

revolution, albeit not yet a Bolshevik one. Whilst unrestricted

:25:44.:25:48.

submarine warfare, as we have heard, and the diplomatic disaster from the

:25:49.:25:52.

German point of view of the Zimmerman telegram had goaded the

:25:53.:25:57.

United States into entering the war on the 6th of April 19 17. So, did

:25:58.:26:03.

Britain and France really have to squander so many lives so

:26:04.:26:11.

fruitlessly after this date? Why risk the colossal price of failure

:26:12.:26:16.

when the balance of forces at the strategic level were shifting so

:26:17.:26:22.

dramatically? The German leadership fully understood the significance of

:26:23.:26:27.

American belligerency. They therefore gambled everything in the

:26:28.:26:33.

spring of 1918 to exploit the collapse of Russia before the United

:26:34.:26:37.

States could make a real difference. So, it was folly for the British and

:26:38.:26:43.

French to wear themselves out in 1917, given that the balance of

:26:44.:26:49.

forces would change in their favour once the Americans arrived. Claiming

:26:50.:26:52.

that the Germans could stand the rate of attrition less than the

:26:53.:26:58.

British was no justification at the time, as we've heard already in this

:26:59.:27:04.

debate, and it is equal eight indefensible now. After the Arras

:27:05.:27:10.

offensives of April and May came the unprecedented use of giant

:27:11.:27:15.

subterranean mines in a successful attempt to break the deadlock. 19 of

:27:16.:27:19.

these mines were exploded under messy ridge on the 7th of June with

:27:20.:27:25.

a force that could be felt on the far side of the English Channel.

:27:26.:27:30.

Though surprise was achieved, strategic gain was once again

:27:31.:27:36.

lacking. Nevertheless, on the last day of July 1917, the crowning

:27:37.:27:43.

effort of the PEF was made. The third Battle of Ypres would injure

:27:44.:27:46.

and the 10th of November and imprinted itself on the British

:27:47.:27:52.

psyche to an extent matched only by the Somme disaster of the previous

:27:53.:27:58.

year. The focus was on the Passchendaele stared in Ridge and

:27:59.:28:02.

the main thrust was delivered by General Sir Hubert Gough's fifth

:28:03.:28:07.

Army along a 7.5 mile front. The flanks were defended by the British

:28:08.:28:11.

second Army on the right and the French first army on the left.

:28:12.:28:16.

Having overrun some of the outer German defences on the first day,

:28:17.:28:21.

the British commander-in-chief, Sir Douglas Haig, then discovered that

:28:22.:28:25.

the weather was an even more formidable opponent than the enemy.

:28:26.:28:32.

The official history of the interwar called Hague's dispatch as follows,

:28:33.:28:40.

the low-lying clay soil pawn by shells and sodden with rain turned

:28:41.:28:46.

to a succession of vast muddy pools. The values of the shocked and

:28:47.:28:51.

overflowing streams were speedily transformed into long stretches of

:28:52.:28:57.

Balk, in passable apart from a few well-defined tracks which became

:28:58.:29:01.

marks for the enemy's artillery. To leave these tracks was to risk death

:29:02.:29:07.

by drowning. In these conditions, operations of any magnitude became

:29:08.:29:13.

impossible and the result shown of our offensive was necessarily

:29:14.:29:17.

postponed until a period of fine weather should allow the ground to

:29:18.:29:23.

recover. Thus it was that the second phase of the attack, known as the

:29:24.:29:28.

Battle of longer mark, lasting from the 16th-18th of August lacked any

:29:29.:29:35.

element of surprise. The Germans showed no sign of giving way. Then

:29:36.:29:41.

next came the Battle of the men in road rage beginning on the 20th of

:29:42.:29:47.

September and lasting for five days. Its aim was to capture objectives as

:29:48.:29:54.

a distance of between 1000 yards and one whole mile. And this was largely

:29:55.:30:00.

achieved. The pattern was then the same in the fourth phase known as

:30:01.:30:05.

the Battle of polygon would taking place from the 26th of September

:30:06.:30:11.

till the 3rd of October 1917 with the objective of securing a jumping

:30:12.:30:16.

off place from which to attack the main Passchendaele Ridge. I will

:30:17.:30:21.

give way. I thank him for giving way because I hope to speak in this

:30:22.:30:26.

debate was unfortunately off set. You mentioned the Battle of polygon

:30:27.:30:30.

would and I would like to mention that at that battle, my own

:30:31.:30:33.

great-grandfather, who had been there in France since August 1914,

:30:34.:30:38.

was wounded on the 30th of September and won the military medal. Of

:30:39.:30:42.

course, I wanted to mention that because I am very proud but also it

:30:43.:30:47.

demonstrates how this war was fought by ordinary folk who has come from

:30:48.:30:50.

really normal backgrounds who then went back to their ordinary lives.

:30:51.:30:58.

In the case of my great grandfather, a postman in East Yorkshire and that

:30:59.:31:01.

is what was behind much of this conflict. I am delighted that my

:31:02.:31:04.

mentioning of this phase of this terrible series of battles gave my

:31:05.:31:08.

honourable friend the opportunity to pay that well-deserved tribute to

:31:09.:31:16.

his brave ancestor. Whose name I wanted to get into Hansard. It was

:31:17.:31:20.

John William fees eat, so thank you again for giving way. I think the

:31:21.:31:30.

award of the medal to John William Vesey is now justifiably recorded.

:31:31.:31:36.

So, the next assault was planned for the 4th of October and persevered

:31:37.:31:41.

with despite a great deterioration in the weather. wood, It was hoped

:31:42.:31:52.

success at Ypres would drive the Germans from the channel ports and

:31:53.:31:57.

an amphibious force has been assembled. The reality in the words

:31:58.:32:04.

of the official history was very, very different and I quote... Of

:32:05.:32:13.

course I will. Most grateful. My honourable friend's describing the

:32:14.:32:19.

sea battle and what was happening at sea. So would he agree when people

:32:20.:32:24.

ask did we have to go into the war, is it not the reality that we could

:32:25.:32:29.

have well be starved out if we had not been trying to take those

:32:30.:32:34.

actions? The answer is yes and no. The answer is we certainly had to

:32:35.:32:42.

resist German aggression. But that didn't mean that there was any

:32:43.:32:48.

justification when faced with a stalemate to keep repeating tactics

:32:49.:32:54.

and strategies that were wholly unsuccessful and counter productive.

:32:55.:32:59.

And if one could have said, OK, the concept of the big push might have

:33:00.:33:04.

had something to recommend it, despite the obvious imbalance

:33:05.:33:07.

between the technology of machine gun and the lack of armoured

:33:08.:33:12.

vehicles to override it on the other, in the earlier phaser of the

:33:13.:33:18.

war that, might have justified a big push in 1916, it did not justify

:33:19.:33:24.

doing the same sort of lethal strategic nonsense all over again a

:33:25.:33:29.

year later. So this what is the official history had to say after

:33:30.:33:35.

that outbreak of terrible weather. The British Lion had now been

:33:36.:33:42.

advanced along the main ridge for 9,000 yards. The year was already

:33:43.:33:47.

far spent and the prospect of driving the enemy from the Belgian

:33:48.:33:55.

coast had long since disappeared. The delays as a result of the

:33:56.:33:59.

weather and the effect on the state of ground had given the enemy time

:34:00.:34:07.

to bring up reinforcements and to reorganise his defences. Although

:34:08.:34:13.

general head quarters now recognised that the major objectives of

:34:14.:34:17.

Flanders operation were impossible to attain, they were appsing to

:34:18.:34:21.

continue with the view to the capture of the remainder of the

:34:22.:34:26.

Passchendaele ridge before winter set in. The weather was

:34:27.:34:32.

unfavourable, but there were hopes it would improved, based on the

:34:33.:34:36.

foundation that the abnormal rain fall of the summer pressaged a

:34:37.:34:43.

normal, even a dry autumn. That is the end of quotation. Instead of

:34:44.:34:49.

meaning a means to -- remaining a means to the end, the offensive had

:34:50.:35:05.

become an end in its own. Douglas Hague decided Passchendaele must be

:35:06.:35:09.

captured and the cycle was repeated in October in the hope of preventing

:35:10.:35:20.

German forces being switch to meet the French offensive. Some land was

:35:21.:35:27.

gained on 22nd October, fighter pilots doing everything they could

:35:28.:35:32.

to attack German infantry on the roads and in villages. So it went on

:35:33.:35:42.

and on. A little progress here and the final taking of Passchendaele

:35:43.:35:50.

village on 6th November by the Canadians who extended their gains

:35:51.:35:56.

four days later. Passchendaele was according to the official historian,

:35:57.:36:02.

the most sombre and bloodiest of all the battlefields of war. One of the

:36:03.:36:06.

pilots who lived through it and later reached the highest rank in

:36:07.:36:16.

the RAF was Lord Douglas, who commanded 84 squadron's fighters

:36:17.:36:20.

when he returned to the western front in September 1917. He too

:36:21.:36:26.

regarded third Ypres as the most terrible of all the battles of

:36:27.:36:32.

war and he road, the Somme of the year before had been bad enough and

:36:33.:36:37.

after that it was felt that the lesson of mass attacks must have

:36:38.:36:43.

been learned. But it was not learned and less than a year later our army

:36:44.:36:49.

was called upon to embark on an offensive that was even more

:36:50.:36:56.

terrible than the Somme. Passchendaele was the beginning of

:36:57.:37:02.

was to become a long misery. Eventually the whole area became

:37:03.:37:07.

clogged with mud. Over this devastated area which had been

:37:08.:37:12.

reduced to state of a quagmire, attack after attack was launched.

:37:13.:37:17.

For communication there was only the rough tracks that wound their way

:37:18.:37:23.

across the mire and wander off them led to drowning. The Germans

:37:24.:37:27.

welcomed the rain as our strongest ally. Many of the pilots in the

:37:28.:37:39.

third battle of Ypres were were asked to carry out operations on the

:37:40.:37:44.

ground. There was little fighting in the air and since we were at only

:37:45.:37:53.

200 or 300 feet, we were up supposed to see what was going on. What I saw

:37:54.:37:58.

was nothing less than horrifying. The ground over which our infantry

:37:59.:38:04.

were fighting was one vast sea of churned up muck and mud and every

:38:05.:38:11.

where there were shell holes full of water. These attacks that we had to

:38:12.:38:17.

make for which most of my pilots were untrained were a wretched and

:38:18.:38:22.

dangerous business and pretty useless, it was difficult to pick

:38:23.:38:25.

out our that gets, because everything on the ground, including

:38:26.:38:30.

the troops, was the same colour as that dreadful mud. It was quite

:38:31.:38:35.

obvious to anyone viewing from the air this dreadful bat Peel ground --

:38:36.:38:41.

battleground that any chance of a major break through was quite out of

:38:42.:38:46.

the question. We can see from Douglas's memoirs that it was not

:38:47.:38:54.

just fashionable post-war opinion that came to davm the strategy --

:38:55.:39:02.

damn the strategy. The ordering of more attack was seen by him as the

:39:03.:39:07.

grossest of blunders and they recognised the need the relieve

:39:08.:39:11.

pressure on the French by keeping the Germans stretched. But, he says,

:39:12.:39:17.

as I watched from the air what was happening on the ground, there were

:39:18.:39:19.

presented to me some terrible questions - why did we have to press

:39:20.:39:28.

on so blindly in is in one desolate area and under such dreadful

:39:29.:39:36.

conditions? Why was there not some variety in strategy? The questions I

:39:37.:39:40.

asked then are the ones that have been asked since and the answers

:39:41.:39:44.

have never seized to be painful ones. As I said at the outset, I

:39:45.:39:52.

remain completely unconvinced by the argument which some people deploy

:39:53.:39:57.

even to this day that it was necessary to undergo the

:39:58.:40:03.

catastrophic failures of Somme and the Passchendaele offences to learn

:40:04.:40:07.

the lessons necessary for victory in 1918. There is testimony enough from

:40:08.:40:12.

senior military figures in the Second World War writing of their

:40:13.:40:17.

experiences in the first, spelling out the futility of relentlessly

:40:18.:40:24.

sacrificing huge numbers of British troops in fighting Unwinnable

:40:25.:40:31.

battles. One does haven't to explain every military cul-de-sac to stumble

:40:32.:40:35.

across a strategy that might actually succeed. But let us not

:40:36.:40:41.

forget that each one of these tragedies was an individual and I

:40:42.:40:48.

close with a quote from a young Welshman, Glynne Morgan, who wrote

:40:49.:40:53.

to his father at the start of the Passchendaele offensive. You I know

:40:54.:40:58.

my dear dad will bear the shock as bravely as you have always borne the

:40:59.:41:05.

strain of my being Ute here, but I should like to help you to carry on,

:41:06.:41:11.

because this was a letter only going to be sent in the event of his

:41:12.:41:18.

death, with a stout heart, I regret the opportunity has been denied to

:41:19.:41:23.

me to repay you for the lavish kindness and devotedness which you

:41:24.:41:28.

have always shown me. However it may be that I have done so in the

:41:29.:41:33.

struggle between life and death between England and Germany, liberty

:41:34.:41:37.

and slavery, in any case, I shall have done my duty in my little way.

:41:38.:41:48.

Your affectionate son and brother. Glynne Morgan was killed on 1st

:41:49.:41:54.

August 1917. He was recommended for a VC and he was 21 when he died. To

:41:55.:42:03.

make his maiden speech, Paul Sweeney. Thank you. I'm grateful for

:42:04.:42:20.

this turnt opportunity to deliver my maiden speech. I would like to say

:42:21.:42:30.

it is a great privilege to deliver my maiden speech on a debate about

:42:31.:42:37.

this event. I would like to congratulate the member for New

:42:38.:42:48.

Forest for re-election. It is customary for a new member to make a

:42:49.:42:57.

reference to his predecessor and I noted that Iain Buchanan said if it

:42:58.:43:02.

was in my power to introduce a new tradition, it would be that members

:43:03.:43:09.

should do so from the dispatch so they melee their trembling hands

:43:10.:43:13.

upon it and give support to their quaking knees. I can attest to my

:43:14.:43:18.

sympathy for those sentiments, but I won't have long to wait for relief,

:43:19.:43:24.

will have the first opportunity to address the House from next week as

:43:25.:43:28.

shadow Secretary of State for Scotland. I hope can I provide more

:43:29.:43:38.

support for my trembling limbs. Mr Buchanan was a proud railway worker,

:43:39.:43:43.

socialist and trade unionist and it was not unknown for him to turn up

:43:44.:43:50.

at the city chambers in his boiler suit. He also left a legacy to

:43:51.:43:54.

future members of the House as chairman of House of Commons library

:43:55.:44:00.

committee during its transition from an old style gentleman's club to the

:44:01.:44:06.

research facility today, which has been appreciated by new members

:44:07.:44:11.

preparing their maiden speeches. The area of Glasgow they represent has a

:44:12.:44:16.

remarkable and diverse history that is reflected in the diversity of the

:44:17.:44:20.

people who live there today. From its early origins at the frontier of

:44:21.:44:26.

the northern Roman Empire it has been vital to Glasgow's development,

:44:27.:44:31.

although it was only incorporated into the city in 1891. The river on

:44:32.:44:39.

which the banks the founder of Glasgow established the cathedral

:44:40.:44:44.

and the town flows from waters which nourished the longest established

:44:45.:44:49.

business in Glasgow, Tennents brewery, founded in the 1550s, and

:44:50.:44:56.

has slaked the thirst of many a Glaswegian over the centuries. When

:44:57.:45:06.

I attempt to visualise the evolution of Glasgow the opening of the

:45:07.:45:12.

Olympics springs to mind, what was once a landscape of farms was swept

:45:13.:45:22.

away at the start of the industrial revolution. By coincidence of the

:45:23.:45:29.

position on the approach to Glasgow from Edinburgh, Springburn found

:45:30.:45:34.

itself at the centre of this growth as railway and industries grew to

:45:35.:45:39.

form the largest centre of locomotive manufacture in the

:45:40.:45:45.

British Empire, employing 8,000 people.

:45:46.:45:51.

Other engineering innovations pioneered there, most notably the

:45:52.:45:58.

first motor car built in Britain right George Johnson in Bobby Hill.

:45:59.:46:02.

The first rule trials took place in the dead of night with Johnston

:46:03.:46:05.

driving the car as a reckless 12 miles an hour on a 20 mile journey

:46:06.:46:09.

around Glasgow. For this apparently reckless behaviour, he was charged

:46:10.:46:13.

with contravening the locomotives axed by driving his horse treats

:46:14.:46:19.

carriage during prohibited hours on Buchanan Street, then as now the

:46:20.:46:23.

main shopping thoroughfare in Glasgow. This fine automotive

:46:24.:46:29.

engineering pedigree is retained in the largest manufacturer of taxis

:46:30.:46:33.

and mobility vehicles employing skilled people in Postle Park. The

:46:34.:46:38.

Taimani manufacturer is also ingrained in the community,

:46:39.:46:40.

supporting many excellent projects which support disabled people in the

:46:41.:46:46.

area as well as the highly successful Glasgow Tigers speedway.

:46:47.:46:51.

As my friend, the mentioned earlier, our engineering prowess was also

:46:52.:46:54.

critical for supporting Britain's war effort during the first of war.

:46:55.:46:58.

Springburn's railway works give themselves over for the production

:46:59.:47:01.

of the missions during the war. During this period, they were

:47:02.:47:04.

responsible for producing the first tanks and aircraft. The works also

:47:05.:47:09.

produced the first modern artificial limbs forwarded servicemen.

:47:10.:47:13.

Directors of the locomotive Company offered their headquarters to the

:47:14.:47:17.

Red Cross as existing hospitals were unable to cope with the war wounded.

:47:18.:47:21.

It opened on Christmas Eve 1914. Wounded troops would be transported

:47:22.:47:24.

directly from the southern Channel ports to the hospital on specially

:47:25.:47:28.

converted ambulance trains. By the end of the war, a total of 8211

:47:29.:47:34.

servicemen had been treated. Nearby stop Hill Hospital, the place where

:47:35.:47:37.

I first entered a more peaceful world some 75 years later, was also

:47:38.:47:42.

requisitioned by the medical corps in 1915 and over 1000 patients were

:47:43.:47:53.

cared for their at any given time until the return of the hospital to

:47:54.:47:56.

civilian use in 1920. As an Army reservist, the sacrifice my city

:47:57.:47:58.

made during the First World War has been impressed upon me every year in

:47:59.:48:00.

the remembrance service in George Square. The stark enormity of the

:48:01.:48:03.

statement on the city's cenotaph at Glasgow raised over troops, one

:48:04.:48:08.

third of its population with 8000 of those member losing their lives

:48:09.:48:14.

never fails to move me for the sheer scale of the carnage that afflicted

:48:15.:48:19.

working people a century ago. My constituency of Glasgow North East

:48:20.:48:23.

was created at the 2005 general election in an amalgamation of the

:48:24.:48:26.

Glasgow Springburn and Glasgow Maryhill seats. Both areas have

:48:27.:48:31.

previously enjoyed excellent reputation from exemplary

:48:32.:48:33.

parliamentarians. Although my seat was once described as a labourer

:48:34.:48:36.

citadel, there was even too conservative members of the interwar

:48:37.:48:39.

period, though thankfully it was a brief dalliance. The metaphorical

:48:40.:48:46.

and physically towering legacy of my antecedents was brought into sharp

:48:47.:48:49.

focus when I'd had the opportunity to venture into the Speaker's has. I

:48:50.:48:56.

was met by a oil painting of a member for Springburn and Dundas.

:48:57.:49:03.

His successor skills that was easily inspired and inadequate. Michael

:49:04.:49:06.

Martin succeeded Buchanan as the MP for Springburn from 1979-2009. Of

:49:07.:49:12.

course, commentating on his election as Speaker of the House of Commons

:49:13.:49:17.

from 2000 onwards. His parliamentary career spanning seven consecutive

:49:18.:49:20.

general elections was selflessly committed to the service of others

:49:21.:49:23.

and epitomises that opportunity that the labour movement has offered to

:49:24.:49:26.

the advancement of working-class people over the last century, rising

:49:27.:49:32.

from a fish sheet metal worker and shop steward to become the Speaker

:49:33.:49:36.

of the House. I was gratified to meet Lord Martin just last week and

:49:37.:49:40.

he was delighted that his seat was now back in safe hands, as he put

:49:41.:49:44.

it. My first ever experience of party Glasgow campaigning was in the

:49:45.:49:48.

Glasgow North East by-election of 2009. After a telephone call from

:49:49.:49:51.

Gordon Brown's wife Sarah drew me from my exam revision to help retain

:49:52.:49:56.

the seat for Labour. As someone who was also born and raised in the

:49:57.:50:05.

local area and the first in his family to have a university

:50:06.:50:10.

education, he was a committed chavvy adversity, speaking the civilian

:50:11.:50:13.

opposition to the coalition Government's vicious and

:50:14.:50:16.

self-defeating austerity policies during his tenure as Shadow Scotland

:50:17.:50:20.

Office minister. Before I had the opportunity to meet my immediate

:50:21.:50:23.

predecessor and McLauchlan, I have watched her maiden speech with great

:50:24.:50:26.

interest which he delivered it almost two years ago today in July

:50:27.:50:32.

20 15. Was particularly impressed by her yearning passion to improve the

:50:33.:50:35.

lives of her constituents and restoring civic pride our

:50:36.:50:39.

communities, a passion that I shared equally. And cited the project to

:50:40.:50:43.

restore the historic Springburn Winter Gardens, the largest

:50:44.:50:47.

glasshouse and Scotland, as it'll tenet 's system it symbol of our

:50:48.:50:53.

need to continue renewing our society. As one of the directors of

:50:54.:50:59.

the project, I was very glad that Anne made such a generous versions

:51:00.:51:02.

of our efforts in her maiden speech. I would also like to thank for the

:51:03.:51:06.

election campaign we conducted in June and I look forward to working

:51:07.:51:08.

together in areas of mutual interest in the future. All the maiden

:51:09.:51:12.

speeches of my predecessors reflect common challenges facing our

:51:13.:51:15.

constituents over the years. Whilst much progress has been made in

:51:16.:51:18.

certain areas, unfortunately many of the issues they identified decades

:51:19.:51:27.

ago remain all too stubbornly apparent today. Michael Martin

:51:28.:51:29.

referred to the urgent need to strengthen Government intervention

:51:30.:51:30.

to develop new industries that would revitalise the local economy and

:51:31.:51:33.

alleviate the unemployment and despair caused by the collapse of

:51:34.:51:37.

locomotive manufacturing. This is a legacy of decline that my

:51:38.:51:39.

constituency has never fully recovered from and it is something

:51:40.:51:43.

that I felt keenly from an early age as I learned about Springburn's past

:51:44.:51:46.

industrial glories from my grandparents. It is what inspired me

:51:47.:51:50.

to follow my grandfather and father into the Clyde shipbuilding industry

:51:51.:51:53.

and later at Scottish enterprise, burning with a zeal to rejuvenate

:51:54.:51:58.

the Clyde built industries that once brought prosperity is our city.

:51:59.:52:02.

Having recently been involved with Labour's new industrial strategy for

:52:03.:52:05.

Scotland, I'm excited by the opportunity we have before us now to

:52:06.:52:10.

other new era of prosperity with the application of coherent, long-term

:52:11.:52:12.

thinking about the development of more high-value industries in our

:52:13.:52:15.

country and I look forward to pursuing that vision with vigorous

:52:16.:52:19.

enthusiasm in this place. Housing is another recurring matter that is

:52:20.:52:23.

referred to by my predecessors, particularly exploitation by private

:52:24.:52:26.

landlords and the mass clearance of housing areas like Swinburn. All

:52:27.:52:30.

Glasgow Labour MPs have stood firmly in the tradition of John Wheatley

:52:31.:52:34.

and his famous Housing act of 1944 that provided state subsidies for

:52:35.:52:38.

house building to build the land fit for heroes. It led directly to the

:52:39.:52:42.

creation of Glasgow's means about housing system and start large-scale

:52:43.:52:46.

building of some 57,000 new homes in new districts like Rhodri and

:52:47.:52:50.

Carntyne in my constituency during the interwar period. Heroines like

:52:51.:52:55.

maybe Barber also led the struggle against rapacious landlords during

:52:56.:52:59.

the First World War, leading the rent strike that slowly forced this

:53:00.:53:03.

House to legislate to control rents for the duration of the war. I am

:53:04.:53:08.

delighted that my predecessor, Maria Fyfe, who represented Glasgow

:53:09.:53:11.

Maryhill in this House for so many years successfully campaigned for a

:53:12.:53:14.

statue of Mary Barbour and the Glasgow rent strikers, only the

:53:15.:53:18.

fourth statue of a woman to be erected in the city of Glasgow. Due

:53:19.:53:22.

to the efforts of my predecessor Michael and others, Glasgow became a

:53:23.:53:25.

pioneer in the modern housing association movement that if many of

:53:26.:53:28.

the traditional Victorian tenements in areas like Denison and Springburn

:53:29.:53:32.

and by writing off the city's ?1 billion housing debt, the last

:53:33.:53:35.

Labour Government enabled an unprecedented renewal of the city's

:53:36.:53:39.

housing stock led by organisations like nanograms homes with over 100

:53:40.:53:43.

million invested to improve housing standards in my constituency. These

:53:44.:53:47.

physical improvements are not just about the sandstorm, glass and

:53:48.:53:50.

slate. It is also about reinvigorating the very soul and

:53:51.:53:54.

character of our city, what it means and feels like to be a Glaswegian

:53:55.:53:58.

from one generation to the next. These efforts have, however, been

:53:59.:54:02.

frustrated by policies from the party opposite by continue to

:54:03.:54:06.

undermine living standards in my constituency despite efforts to

:54:07.:54:09.

regenerate our communities, my constituents are still subject to

:54:10.:54:12.

the indignity of benefit sanctions, tax-cut cuts and frozen wages. With

:54:13.:54:16.

unemployment and benefit claimant rates in my constituency double the

:54:17.:54:20.

national average, and the child poverty level as a disgrace 36%,

:54:21.:54:25.

they Izeta might be continued onslaught to their living standards

:54:26.:54:29.

is too much to bear for many. When it is iterative approach is me in

:54:30.:54:33.

the street to discuss how she was forced to financially support her

:54:34.:54:36.

son and his partner who were suffering from a terminal brain

:54:37.:54:39.

tumour for nine months before his death as they had been found fit to

:54:40.:54:43.

work and had his benefits cut, it is clear to me that we have seen the

:54:44.:54:46.

creation of a new national minimum definition of dignity were anything

:54:47.:54:50.

short of starvation and anything above destitution is now seemingly

:54:51.:54:53.

acceptable and is apparently blind to any appeal to human compassion.

:54:54.:54:57.

It was a view that was only galvanised as I watched the benches

:54:58.:55:06.

opposite cheer with perverse triumph as our effort to remove the public

:55:07.:55:09.

sector pay cap was defeated last month, quite oblivious to be

:55:10.:55:11.

harmless causes to millions of people. My duty as a member of

:55:12.:55:13.

Parliament has been crystallised by those observations. The people of

:55:14.:55:15.

Glasgow North East sent me here because they despair at the Tories

:55:16.:55:19.

and yearn for the vision of hope and prosperity that labour under Jeremy

:55:20.:55:23.

Corbyn's leadership has offered to them. In 1948, this House, having

:55:24.:55:27.

witnessed the disastrous effects of too terrible war awards was told

:55:28.:55:30.

that they welfare state was established to remove the shame from

:55:31.:55:35.

needs and to create a society with solidarity at its foundation. Today,

:55:36.:55:43.

it is our solemn responsibility to do everything at our power to defeat

:55:44.:55:46.

this Government and restore that abiding principle in our society.

:55:47.:55:48.

That is why the people of Glasgow North East sent me here and I will

:55:49.:55:51.

do my utmost to repay their faith in me by how I put myself in the

:55:52.:55:54.

pursuit of that endeavour in this House. Thank you very much. Thank

:55:55.:56:01.

you, Madam Deputy Speaker. It falls to me to congratulate Mike and

:56:02.:56:05.

Patriot, the member for Glasgow North East on his maiden speech and

:56:06.:56:10.

there can be little doubt that he will bring passion and commitment

:56:11.:56:14.

and conviction to the proceedings of this House and I look forward to it

:56:15.:56:20.

over the coming months and hopefully yours too many just across the floor

:56:21.:56:24.

of the House. I was delighted to hear, by the way, him it

:56:25.:56:30.

representing it recognising previous occupants of his seat viewing

:56:31.:56:36.

conservative. Look forward to further success down the years. I

:56:37.:56:39.

congratulate him on his new position. Which he mentioned during

:56:40.:56:43.

his speech, and I look forward to seeing him appear at the dispatch

:56:44.:56:50.

box as soon as next week. I rise with, I have to say, a degree of

:56:51.:56:56.

humility to make a small contribution of my own and paid

:56:57.:57:01.

tribute to those who fought and died during Passchendaele, the third

:57:02.:57:07.

Battle of Ypres, the biggest British offensive of 1917. And I say with

:57:08.:57:12.

humility because of the calibre of the speeches that we have heard in

:57:13.:57:17.

this debate. Where I have both been informed and I have to say deeply

:57:18.:57:21.

moved by the things that I have heard. I think particularly I would

:57:22.:57:28.

like to say how moved I have been by the contributions from members who

:57:29.:57:33.

have spoken in Welsh. Something that has been passed to me from my great

:57:34.:57:38.

grandmother, Mary and Owen Blakemore, that thrills at the sound

:57:39.:57:44.

of the Welsh language. Her son, my great uncle, Harry Blakemore, served

:57:45.:57:54.

in the Great War and died in the early months of 1918. Harry

:57:55.:57:59.

Blakemore plays an important part in our family history, even though his

:58:00.:58:07.

life was short and I think it was the member for South West Wiltshire

:58:08.:58:12.

that spoke about the impact that these First World War cemeteries and

:58:13.:58:18.

sites have on young people. My wife and I have made it a matter of

:58:19.:58:27.

course to take our children to these very, I think, sacred places and the

:58:28.:58:34.

effect that he described that those places have on young people, I have

:58:35.:58:40.

witnessed in my own children. There is, and I think you said, a dawning

:58:41.:58:45.

realisation of the sacrifice, the slaughter of the Great War and it

:58:46.:58:53.

does have massive impression on their young minds. It reminds them

:58:54.:58:57.

and it reminds all of us of the cost, the price of our freedom. I

:58:58.:59:05.

have stood several times, I'm grateful to say, and witnessed the

:59:06.:59:11.

last post ceremony at the men in gate and again, it is an incredibly

:59:12.:59:16.

moving experience. -- Menin Gate. I almost wish that every school child

:59:17.:59:20.

in this country could have the privilege of standing there and

:59:21.:59:23.

visiting those sites because of the impact that it has upon our minds.

:59:24.:59:30.

Yes, I will give way. I am most grateful to my honourable friend

:59:31.:59:33.

giving way and he makes a very powerful point about the education

:59:34.:59:36.

of young people and what can happen. Just on a slight tangent to this

:59:37.:59:41.

point, but I think an important one, I urge my honourable friend to be in

:59:42.:59:46.

context with the Holocaust educational trust who do massively

:59:47.:59:49.

important work in taking young people to our switch which shows

:59:50.:59:53.

what an bridal powder can do as well and I urge to look into that. I

:59:54.:59:58.

thank you for your intervention and that point of information and I will

:59:59.:00:07.

follow up on his invitation. My constituency, I should also mention

:00:08.:00:11.

before I proceed that I was particularly deeply moved by my

:00:12.:00:15.

honourable friend the member for Brecon and his accounts which I hope

:00:16.:00:18.

that those of us were not in the chamber will have the opportunity to

:00:19.:00:23.

view and read because I felt it was very uplifting, thank you very much.

:00:24.:00:32.

My constituency of sterling has a long-standing connection with the

:00:33.:00:34.

Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders who fought on the front line at

:00:35.:00:40.

Passchendaele and these things are all well documented. And our many

:00:41.:00:45.

warm ordeals throughout my constituency are filled with the

:00:46.:00:49.

names of local men who went off to fight, briefly and in the country's

:00:50.:00:53.

call. Behind each of those names engraved upon those memorials, there

:00:54.:00:58.

is a family also left behind and brokenhearted. Madam Deputy Speaker,

:00:59.:01:04.

its importance, I think, also to note in this debate that the men

:01:05.:01:08.

that fought at Passchendaele and throughout the Great War were

:01:09.:01:12.

gathered from across the British Empire. The cemeteries of the

:01:13.:01:19.

Western front is artful of gravestones for Australians, New

:01:20.:01:22.

Zealanders, whose worst casualty figures actually came from

:01:23.:01:27.

Passchendaele. South Africans, Indians, both Hindus and Muslims

:01:28.:01:32.

alike. Canadians and Newfoundland is. Men are from all over the

:01:33.:01:34.

imperial from every diverse face and

:01:35.:01:46.

background and culture came to fight for the mother country in its hour

:01:47.:01:49.

of need and in doing so came together in a common cause.

:01:50.:01:54.

It has become fashionable to consider the men who went to fight

:01:55.:02:01.

for the British Empire were victims whose blood was spent wastefully by

:02:02.:02:10.

British officers who had no concern for men of colonies, my friend from

:02:11.:02:17.

the University of Glasgow and the centre for battlefield archaeology

:02:18.:02:21.

counters this idea and calls it a false idea. Because the men coming

:02:22.:02:27.

from the colonies were not unwilling victims being sent to die. Certainly

:02:28.:02:33.

the men of the AIF who arrived on the western front in 1915 were not

:02:34.:02:41.

sack official lambs. According to the research these men were

:02:42.:02:48.

confident and eager for the fight and they came to sort out the mess

:02:49.:02:56.

that the old country has v had made. -- had made. The Scottish memorial

:02:57.:03:02.

in Flanders is a reminder of the contribution that Scotland made to

:03:03.:03:07.

the British action at Ypres. This memorial is the only one on the

:03:08.:03:14.

western front dedicated to all Scots and all those of Scottish descent

:03:15.:03:24.

who fought during the 1914-18 war. Scottish soldiers made a major

:03:25.:03:29.

contribution to the efforts of British army in the battle of

:03:30.:03:39.

Passchendaele and their sacrifice was proportionally greater. Between

:03:40.:03:43.

July and November 1917 all three Scottish divisions were on the

:03:44.:03:49.

western front. They were included in the 9th and 15th divisions and the

:03:50.:03:54.

51st Highland division. They came from all over Scotland, representing

:03:55.:04:02.

famous Scottish regiments such as the black Watch. Our famous local

:04:03.:04:14.

regiment in my constituency in Stirling, the Argyll and southern

:04:15.:04:19.

Highlanders was in the thick of fighting, with representatives in

:04:20.:04:25.

all three divisions and took casualties in every significant

:04:26.:04:32.

phase of the action. Yes. Thank you, I very much thank very good

:04:33.:04:37.

honourable friend for giving way. Can I remind the House that a lot of

:04:38.:04:45.

Scottish soldiers in reinforcement units were actually diverted to

:04:46.:04:50.

English regiments or Welsh or Irish regiments. It is aPoe site that

:04:51.:05:02.

there is a Scottish memorial to all Scottish soldiers no matter what

:05:03.:05:07.

regiment they were served in. After all some of us go abroad and command

:05:08.:05:14.

units. Thank you. I should mention that is a tribute to the fighting

:05:15.:05:17.

qualities of Scottish soldiers that they can be relevant assigned as you

:05:18.:05:22.

have, and deployed as you have suggested. There were not only

:05:23.:05:29.

Scots, there were not only Scots involved as the Ca Nadians and --

:05:30.:05:39.

Canadians and Newfoundlands and sons of immigrants were also committed to

:05:40.:05:43.

the battle. The Scottish memorial project reports of nine Canadian VC

:05:44.:05:48.

awarding in the last week of October and the first week of November

:05:49.:05:54.

alone, the majority were awarded to Scottish-born or the sons of Scots

:05:55.:06:02.

immigrants. Those who came back lived with the legacy of what they

:06:03.:06:13.

experienced and we have heard some very good comments about that. Of

:06:14.:06:17.

those who did not return, we will remember them. We must not make the

:06:18.:06:24.

mistake of thinking that these soldiers were passive victims of a

:06:25.:06:27.

war they didn't understand or support. That is a view that is

:06:28.:06:33.

often expressed in certain quarters. Especially when people say that we

:06:34.:06:37.

have not learned the lessons of past wars. Whether they understood the

:06:38.:06:43.

war in the way that we might want them to understand it, they fought

:06:44.:06:49.

because they wanted to do their bit. Because they had been conscripted

:06:50.:06:54.

and it was their duty to go. Because they were with men who had become

:06:55.:06:59.

their mates and they weren't going to let them down. We do our fallen

:07:00.:07:07.

no justice when we strip them of the dignity that comes with the

:07:08.:07:13.

recognition of their agency, they joined up, they answered their

:07:14.:07:17.

nation's call, and they reported to the conscription hall. We can argue

:07:18.:07:24.

about the conduct of the war, but never let us down play the sacrifice

:07:25.:07:30.

of the men who went to war and laid down their lives. When a person

:07:31.:07:38.

loses their life in the service of their country, in a vast battle, in

:07:39.:07:44.

a global war such as the one we are talking about in is in debate, or

:07:45.:07:51.

whether one person loses their life individually without record or

:07:52.:07:57.

attention paid, such sacrifice is most worthy of remembrance. This is

:07:58.:08:03.

partly the inspiration behind the unknown warrior, who rests

:08:04.:08:08.

anonymously in the place of highest honour in our nation. And while the

:08:09.:08:15.

war memorials, the remembrance services, the cemeteries and debates

:08:16.:08:20.

like these are of vital and an essential reminder of that

:08:21.:08:24.

sacrifice, the true honour and respect we must give to their memory

:08:25.:08:29.

is the kind of country and the kind of world we are building. The

:08:30.:08:36.

approach we take towards one another, the way we work together as

:08:37.:08:41.

a country within our borders and across borders. Must always honour

:08:42.:08:49.

their sacrifice. Those who died would no doubt have held a wide

:08:50.:08:55.

variety of opinions and views, such as we do. They would have the same

:08:56.:09:00.

broad diversity of opinion that the population of the country had at

:09:01.:09:07.

that time. Socialists, liberals and Conservatives all fought and died

:09:08.:09:13.

together. They would have had their differences and disagreements, as I

:09:14.:09:19.

said, just as indeed we do, but madam Deputy Speaker, demonstrating

:09:20.:09:25.

courtesy and respect to those whose opinions and beliefs differ from

:09:26.:09:30.

ourselves is one vital aspect to the way we honour the sacrifice of the

:09:31.:09:37.

fallen. As is enlisting ousts in the pursuit of peace and justice for all

:09:38.:09:43.

and the advancement of the civil society and democracy that I believe

:09:44.:09:50.

we all believe in. These aims are indeed a fit and proper memorial

:09:51.:09:57.

worthy to the memory of the sacrifice of so many souls. Just

:09:58.:10:04.

before I call the next speaker is, may I thank the last two speakers,

:10:05.:10:09.

the honourable gentleman made the excellent maiden speech from Glasgow

:10:10.:10:13.

North East and the gentleman from Stirling, what they have said about

:10:14.:10:17.

the Highland light infantry, because my grandfather served with them. And

:10:18.:10:22.

he was injured at Passchendaele. I'm not able to make a tribute from the

:10:23.:10:29.

chair, so I thank these honourable gentlemen for doing it for me. Liz

:10:30.:10:38.

McInness. It is a pleasure to make a short contribution to this important

:10:39.:10:43.

debate and to follow so many interesting, thoughtful and very

:10:44.:10:47.

informative speeches and it is a particular pleasure to listen to two

:10:48.:10:53.

wonderful maiden speeches this afternoon from my honourable friend

:10:54.:10:58.

the member for Bedford, who talked about making his life in that place,

:10:59.:11:03.

having moved here from Kashmir and also my honourable friend the member

:11:04.:11:10.

for Glasgow North East and I wish him well at the dispatch debut next

:11:11.:11:17.

week. I just would like to talk about how we are celebrating,

:11:18.:11:24.

commemorating the battle of Passchendaele in my constituency of

:11:25.:11:29.

Haywood and Middleton, we like many other towns and cities will be

:11:30.:11:35.

commemorating that battle on July 30th and we will meet as part of

:11:36.:11:39.

programme of World War one commemorative events. And I would

:11:40.:11:45.

like here to pay tribute to rch dale council for the -- Rochdale council

:11:46.:11:48.

for the work they have done and the commitment they have shown in

:11:49.:11:56.

organising these events, which have been well attended and they have

:11:57.:11:59.

been observed with huge respect for those who gave their lives for our

:12:00.:12:04.

country and those who fought and survived and for all their families

:12:05.:12:13.

and I would like to give a special intention to councillor Alan McArty

:12:14.:12:24.

for his work in this report and as the chair of Haywood township. The

:12:25.:12:28.

councillors after consultation with the veterans, decided that

:12:29.:12:32.

commemorations of the World War one centenary should not be in

:12:33.:12:37.

celebration, but rather in solemn reflection and remembrance of all

:12:38.:12:43.

those who have died and have served in our armed forces since the start

:12:44.:12:49.

of the great war. It is important to remember that almost everyone in the

:12:50.:12:54.

UK had an ancestor directly affected by the First World War and that

:12:55.:12:59.

nearly one million men and women gave their lives in service. My

:13:00.:13:08.

constituent Lynne Coxal, whose second cousin William died in the

:13:09.:13:14.

First World War will be among the many attending the memorial service

:13:15.:13:17.

at Ypres to remember their sacrifice. And Lynne has donated

:13:18.:13:25.

William's pocket watch and other artefacts to the Passchendaele

:13:26.:13:33.

museum in his memory. The Haywood war memorial has its own special

:13:34.:13:38.

link to the battle of Passchendaele. The war memorial was unveiled in

:13:39.:13:44.

1925, a statue representing peace stands in front of Cenotaph with

:13:45.:13:52.

bowed head and bearing a laurel leaf remitting victory -- representing

:13:53.:14:01.

victory. The statue was made by Walter Marsden, an English artist.

:14:02.:14:11.

He was born in 1882. In 1902 he was an apprentice at the brick and tile

:14:12.:14:17.

company, where the owners reck Northern Islesed -- recognised his

:14:18.:14:26.

talent and encouraged him to study at the Manchester College of Art and

:14:27.:14:32.

he in 1911 he gave his occupation as a clay modeller. He himself saw

:14:33.:14:38.

active service in the First World War, serving as an officer in the

:14:39.:14:44.

loyal North Lancashire regiment. He himself fought in the third battle

:14:45.:14:48.

of Ypres, the battle of Passchendaele, for which he was

:14:49.:14:53.

awarded the Military Cross. He was later taken prisoner in France and

:14:54.:14:58.

sent to a prisoner of war camp. After the war, he continued his

:14:59.:15:03.

studies and he attended the Royal College of Art and later worked on

:15:04.:15:08.

many war memorials, many of which are in Lancashire as well as the

:15:09.:15:16.

memorial in Haywood, he made them in Church, Bolton, in Bury and at St

:15:17.:15:24.

Ann's on Sea. And his sculptures reflects his experience of active

:15:25.:15:31.

service. The memorial at St Ann's on Sea depicts walking wounded

:15:32.:15:37.

returning, blinded by gas. A gaunt, exhausted helmetless soldier is

:15:38.:15:43.

seated at its base. And Walter Marsden had wanted he said to

:15:44.:15:50.

capture, the constant nervous rain of trench warfare and the ever

:15:51.:15:54.

present feeling of danger that was the cause of so much mental agony.

:15:55.:16:02.

I'd like to pay tribute to the honourable member for back in

:16:03.:16:08.

Hamburg is acting he gave us the ick honest experience of that by sharing

:16:09.:16:12.

his story. He also detected a husband going off to war, his wife

:16:13.:16:16.

clutching at him with a small, sad child looking up helplessly. His

:16:17.:16:21.

memorials tread a delicate line between portraying the human cost of

:16:22.:16:26.

war whilst also paying proper tribute to bravery and sacrifice.

:16:27.:16:33.

The War memorial in Heywood is inscribed "To the men of Heywood who

:16:34.:16:38.

gave their lives for us during the Great War 1914-1918." And it is

:16:39.:16:44.

commemorated by name the 300 men who died in service. And I'd like to

:16:45.:16:51.

finish by quoting the words on the Walter Marsden War Memorial in his

:16:52.:16:55.

hometown of church, Lancashire. Which I think is a fitting point on

:16:56.:17:01.

which to end. His memorial is inscribed, let those who come after

:17:02.:17:07.

siege to it that their names be not forgotten. Thank you. To make is

:17:08.:17:17.

maiden speech, Ben Lake. Thank you for affording me the opportunity to

:17:18.:17:20.

make my maiden speech this afternoon. It is a pleasure to

:17:21.:17:26.

follow the honourable lady and in particular the honourable members

:17:27.:17:29.

for Glasgow North East and Bedford who both made excellent maiden

:17:30.:17:34.

speeches. Indeed, they said an exacting standard with their

:17:35.:17:37.

speeches. They spoke from the heart and I have no doubt that they will

:17:38.:17:42.

be a credit to their party, their constituencies and this House. I

:17:43.:17:46.

welcome the opportunity to remember the third bottle of Ypres in this

:17:47.:17:49.

House and to commemorate the First World War. As the years go by, it

:17:50.:17:55.

becomes increasingly important that we remember the conflict and

:17:56.:17:57.

especially the sacrifice of all those who lost their lives. We must

:17:58.:18:04.

ensure that we learn the lessons of the past and strive to never again

:18:05.:18:09.

subject people to such suffering and horror. Whilst visiting one of the

:18:10.:18:14.

many Commonwealth War cemeteries that pepper the Belgian countryside,

:18:15.:18:20.

it was heartbreaking to stumble across seemingly never ending rows

:18:21.:18:23.

of young lives cut short by the conflict. As has already been

:18:24.:18:27.

mentioned and referred to in this debate this afternoon, perhaps the

:18:28.:18:32.

most famous of these casualties from Wales was Ellis Humphrey Evans or

:18:33.:18:37.

Hedd Wyn. A son of the neighbouring constituency of my honourable

:18:38.:18:43.

friend, Hedd Wyn was a talented poet who was tragically killed before

:18:44.:18:48.

learning of his greatest literary trout. Just a few weeks before

:18:49.:18:53.

winning the most prestigious prize for forgery at the National

:18:54.:18:58.

Eisteddfod, the Bardic chair, he was killed at the Battle of

:18:59.:19:01.

Passchendaele at the young age of 13. -- prestigious pride for poetry.

:19:02.:19:05.

In his the sentinel of our nation's

:19:06.:19:18.

Heritage is perched on Penrice hill overlooking card Bay, a jewel of the

:19:19.:19:24.

Welsh coast which I now have the privilege of representing as the

:19:25.:19:28.

member for Ceredigion. I am truly humbled that the people of this

:19:29.:19:32.

great constituency have put their faith in me to speak for them in

:19:33.:19:37.

this place. I am looking forward to working hard on their behalf,

:19:38.:19:41.

serving them well and to strive to be worthy of this trust. My

:19:42.:19:47.

immediate predecessor, Mark Williams, was elected in 2005. He

:19:48.:19:53.

gained the respect of this House and the affection of the its truancy

:19:54.:19:56.

thanks to over 12 years of tireless service. Thousands of people from

:19:57.:20:04.

across the county have benefited from his advice and assistance and I

:20:05.:20:07.

hope to continue with this good work. I wish him and his family the

:20:08.:20:14.

very best for the future. Madam Deputy Speaker, Qera is my home.

:20:15.:20:21.

From the peak to the tranquillity of the TV estuary, its hills and

:20:22.:20:25.

valleys rarely failed to speak to its sons and daughters. It is no

:20:26.:20:33.

surprise that there should be a common affliction for people who

:20:34.:20:36.

find themselves absent from the county for too long. The second was

:20:37.:20:42.

sparsely populated county in Wales, Ceredigion is a rural area.

:20:43.:20:46.

Agriculture is the backbone of many of our communities. Farming is only

:20:47.:20:49.

supporting significant number of the workforce, but also sustains a range

:20:50.:20:52.

of social activities and events that are the lifeblood of the county.

:20:53.:20:57.

Ceredigion stretches from the banks of the dead and in the north to

:20:58.:21:04.

Cardigan Island in the south. It is bounded in the east by Mike Gibson

:21:05.:21:08.

tells of flank to the west by spectacular coastline. In fact, this

:21:09.:21:19.

year, lower flags proudly fly above the pristine beaches. Terrorism

:21:20.:21:23.

serves a vital economic role in the area which is unsurprising --

:21:24.:21:31.

Tourism serves a vital economic role in the area which is unsurprising

:21:32.:21:34.

since Ceredigion is widely accepted to be the most beautiful area of

:21:35.:21:43.

Wales. Its natural beauty is aided with the beautiful settlements,

:21:44.:21:46.

Georgia towns to historic mustering points of the drovers which

:21:47.:21:49.

continues to hold a thriving livestock market to today's.

:21:50.:21:54.

Although primarily a rule constituency, we boast a university

:21:55.:21:58.

towns. The University at Aberystwyth was established in 1872 thanks to

:21:59.:22:04.

the pennies of the people. Thousands of individual donations from across

:22:05.:22:10.

Wales. And Lampeter, which is home to the oldest degree awarding

:22:11.:22:12.

institution in Wales, founded in 1822. Now, we can also justifiably

:22:13.:22:20.

claim to be the capital of Welsh culture. In addition to hosting the

:22:21.:22:25.

National library and universities, Ceredigion has two thriving

:22:26.:22:29.

publishing houses and a recently restored castle at Cardigan which

:22:30.:22:36.

plays host to the first National Eisteddfod in 1126. The most famous

:22:37.:22:40.

of Welsh buyers, Davitt love William was born there and my home town of

:22:41.:22:45.

Lampeter is the birthplace of Welsh rugby with a first recorded match

:22:46.:22:52.

being played there in 1866. This is a rich mix of rural and urban

:22:53.:22:58.

defines Ceredigion, a tapestry of communities woven tightly by the

:22:59.:23:03.

emphatic lamb steak and the famous quick-witted humour of the people.

:23:04.:23:07.

-- the emphatic landscape. Although we speak to our strengths, we can be

:23:08.:23:14.

blind to the reality surrounding our departure from the European Union

:23:15.:23:18.

which is a challenge to the very fabric of our community. During my

:23:19.:23:21.

time in this place, I will strive to ensure that the best interest of the

:23:22.:23:25.

real economy and higher education are at the forefront of the minds of

:23:26.:23:28.

Government ministers as they conduct Brexit negotiations. Madam Deputy

:23:29.:23:34.

Speaker, we cannot allow ourselves to be forgotten. Decisions taken in

:23:35.:23:41.

London have long overlooked the real economy, public investment, too

:23:42.:23:45.

often bypassing the hinterland. For too long, amenities considered

:23:46.:23:50.

essential to the urban economy are dismissed as mere luxuries for more

:23:51.:23:54.

rural areas. Several of my predecessors in this House have

:23:55.:23:59.

pointed to the tragic irony that Ceredigion bestows upon its use an

:24:00.:24:02.

unrivalled education but offers them a poor array of job opportunities

:24:03.:24:09.

and affordable housing. For decades, our county has lost the potential

:24:10.:24:15.

and the vitality of her youth. Around half young people leave the

:24:16.:24:18.

county by the time they reach 25 years of age. Many of the young who

:24:19.:24:24.

have left our Welsh speakers, which has meant that in my lifetime, which

:24:25.:24:28.

I'm sure honourable and right Honourable members will agree is

:24:29.:24:31.

particularly long, the percentage of people living in Ceredigion that can

:24:32.:24:36.

speak the language has declined from around 60% to just 47%. This steady

:24:37.:24:43.

silent haemorrhage saps the lifeblood of nearly every town and

:24:44.:24:47.

village the length and breadth of the county. During my time in this

:24:48.:24:50.

place, I look forward to working with those across the political

:24:51.:24:54.

divide to refocus the attention of governments to the challenges facing

:24:55.:24:59.

rural areas and encouraging greater efforts at developing an economy.

:25:00.:25:06.

Madam Deputy Speaker, we are a proud people in Ceredigion and possess an

:25:07.:25:10.

historic resolve to buck a national trends. We are also of independent

:25:11.:25:15.

spirit. Over the years, we have seen fit to elect members to this House

:25:16.:25:19.

from across the political spectrum. I am particularly proud to follow in

:25:20.:25:24.

the footsteps of my distinguished Plaid Cymru predecessors Simon

:25:25.:25:27.

Thomas and cannot divest. They worked tirelessly for Ceredigion and

:25:28.:25:32.

were passionate about guarding rural areas from the negligence of a

:25:33.:25:37.

remote Government. 25 years after the election of the first Plaid

:25:38.:25:42.

Cymru MP for Ceredigion, I am committed to building on this

:25:43.:25:46.

legacy. It is the greatest of honours to have been entrusted by

:25:47.:25:49.

the people of our county during this critical time. As we come together

:25:50.:25:55.

today to remember the sacrifice of those who gave their lives during

:25:56.:26:00.

the First World War, we can all be inspired by the deep sense of duty.

:26:01.:26:06.

It is the sense of duty and service that I will seek to embrace. Madam

:26:07.:26:12.

Deputy Speaker, I would like to finish by quoting one of

:26:13.:26:16.

Ceredigion's greatest sons and a founding member of Plaid Cymru when

:26:17.:26:28.

he said,... Whether faced with opportunities or obstacles, the best

:26:29.:26:31.

interests of my county and my constituents will be at the very

:26:32.:26:40.

heart of all my endeavours. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. Can I

:26:41.:26:44.

commend the honourable member for Ceredigion for an impressive first

:26:45.:26:49.

speech. I particularly thought it was appropriate for his mention of

:26:50.:26:55.

Ceredigion and his death at age 30 as Passchendaele and it reminds as

:26:56.:26:59.

all of what talent was lost, what futures were lost, what artistic

:27:00.:27:04.

flourishes couldn't have taken place in this country but for that first

:27:05.:27:11.

war. There is also pleased that he acknowledged his predecessor, Mark

:27:12.:27:14.

Williams, by saying he had affection throughout this House. He most

:27:15.:27:17.

certainly did. He was one of those members who had friends across the

:27:18.:27:22.

political spectrum and people who would support him just because he

:27:23.:27:26.

was Mark. And the political differences dissolved. I take

:27:27.:27:32.

exception a little bit to his suggestion that Ceredigion is the

:27:33.:27:37.

finest place in Wales to go on holiday a little bit. Porthcawl is

:27:38.:27:41.

obviously a great seaside town, but what I would say is that I hope his

:27:42.:27:46.

speech has inspired those who are listening to think of Wales as their

:27:47.:27:51.

holiday destinations because we certainly have so many beautiful

:27:52.:27:58.

places. And he must certainly keep a welcome in our hillsides, no matter

:27:59.:28:02.

in the north or the South. Madam Deputy Speaker, one thing is

:28:03.:28:09.

certain, there is not a family in the UK that is not over the coming

:28:10.:28:14.

months going to be remembering the First World War. And the members of

:28:15.:28:22.

their families who were lost. The future that were lost as a result of

:28:23.:28:30.

that war. I have a very tiny little pocket diary that my grandfather

:28:31.:28:38.

took with him to the front. And in it, he makes a few comments every

:28:39.:28:45.

day about what he saw. And I spent a lot of time actually tracking what

:28:46.:28:49.

he was talking about and looking at the experiences that he was just

:28:50.:28:59.

making a note of. He left for war on August 30, 1914 and he notes, we

:29:00.:29:07.

left Limerick by train for Queenstown, embarked on the S S

:29:08.:29:13.

Mascherano of steamers, Liverpool. He arrived in Belgium and that new

:29:14.:29:22.

idea of moving soldiers to the front quickly was in play. Off he went on

:29:23.:29:28.

a train journey. He spent many hours, indeed days, on that strain,

:29:29.:29:33.

moving into sidings as they tried to get all of the trains with all of

:29:34.:29:36.

the troops moved to the front very quickly. On August 20th, 1914, he

:29:37.:29:49.

finally arrived in a field. They were disembarked. They had no tents,

:29:50.:29:56.

nowhere to sleep. They had no blankets, they had nothing. They

:29:57.:30:01.

laid down in that field exhausted by their journeys which had taken place

:30:02.:30:08.

from the 30th-20th and slept. But before they got a chance to sleep,

:30:09.:30:12.

they were addressed by Sir John French who said, our cause is just,

:30:13.:30:21.

we are called upon to fight beside our gallant allies in France and

:30:22.:30:25.

Belgium in the war of arrogance, but to uphold our national honour,

:30:26.:30:32.

independence and freedom. We have violated no neutrality, nor have we

:30:33.:30:37.

been false to any treaties. We enter upon this conflict with the clearest

:30:38.:30:41.

conscience that we are fighting for right and honour. Having burned this

:30:42.:30:48.

trust in the registers of our cause, and pride in the glory of our

:30:49.:30:51.

military traditions and belief in the efficiencies of our army, we go

:30:52.:30:57.

forward together to do or die. We are still faced, Madam Deputy

:30:58.:31:03.

Speaker, with that dilemma. What do we do as a nation when others

:31:04.:31:11.

violate neutrality? And when they are false to the treaties that have

:31:12.:31:19.

been entered into? Do we then prove false to treaties that we have

:31:20.:31:22.

entered into, to come to the support and aid of others? That is the

:31:23.:31:30.

dilemma that this House faces every time we have a debate about whether

:31:31.:31:36.

we go to war. And it is, and in my time in this House I have taken part

:31:37.:31:40.

in a three debates where we have had to decide, do we commit our

:31:41.:31:47.

personnel? Do we take that decision? And each time, it has been that

:31:48.:31:52.

issue of neutrality, the treaty commitments that we have is that we

:31:53.:31:59.

listen to and we consider and it is the thing that helps make our

:32:00.:32:00.

decision. My grandfather's diary recounts days

:32:01.:32:17.

of heavy shell fire, near escapes from death, exhaustion and the

:32:18.:32:25.

retreat from Mons and Marne until he took part in the first battle of

:32:26.:32:36.

Ypres. In the first battle, the British Expeditionary Force lost

:32:37.:32:41.

thousands of men. The British regular army virtually ly

:32:42.:32:49.

disappeared. The German army lost 130,000 men. The French 50,000. The

:32:50.:32:59.

Belgians 32,000. Sometimes when I read the diary, I ask myself what

:33:00.:33:05.

have we learned and what do I need to learn? As hopefully soon to be

:33:06.:33:12.

again a member of the defence select committee. In the select committee

:33:13.:33:18.

we have many times looked at reports about equipment, it is one of the

:33:19.:33:22.

things that as a committee I believe is one of our major priorities. On

:33:23.:33:33.

October 17th, 1914, my grandfather notes, a very fine morning, all of

:33:34.:33:38.

my chums congratulated me on my birthday. We got a blanket served

:33:39.:33:43.

out to us. We have had nothing to cover us since we came here. Severe

:33:44.:33:56.

fighting all along the canal. From August to October no blanket.

:33:57.:34:02.

Nothing to cover them. Despite the battles that they had fought through

:34:03.:34:10.

and survived. There was hardly a man of the original force who possessed

:34:11.:34:14.

more than the clothing they stood up in and that was often woefully

:34:15.:34:23.

inadequate. It is no wonder the Defence Select Committee even today

:34:24.:34:28.

is concerned about equipment. Is concerned about logistics.

:34:29.:34:39.

Preparation and planning for war. On October 29th, 1914, my grandfather

:34:40.:34:44.

noted, terrific firing all day and night. The Indian troops came here

:34:45.:34:49.

to relieve us. They look a fine lot of men. Gurkhas, Sikhs and Punjabis.

:34:50.:35:03.

It reminds us that even then alliances and coalitions were the

:35:04.:35:09.

way that wars are fought. We rearly stabbed -- rarely stand alone. In

:35:10.:35:18.

that war, 90 thousand Indian soldiers and 50,000 labourers served

:35:19.:35:22.

in two infantry and cavalry divisions. On November 1st, 1914, he

:35:23.:35:28.

notes, it was a damp morning and we had to clean our saddles and

:35:29.:35:34.

harness, my grandfather was a signalman, and often rode out to

:35:35.:35:41.

make sure that communications between the trenches and the senior

:35:42.:35:47.

military command were clear. It was a quiet day, and it was the 23rd day

:35:48.:35:57.

of the first battle of Ypres. It Wurz also a time of great

:35:58.:36:03.

destruction and horror for the civilian population living in that

:36:04.:36:09.

area. We talked a great deal about the impact of the war on our

:36:10.:36:19.

personnel. But it was also a time of great horror for civilian

:36:20.:36:23.

populations who had no idea of where to flee to. For security. They had

:36:24.:36:30.

no idea where there was safety, where a bombardment wouldn't lead to

:36:31.:36:34.

death and destruction. Forced out of their homes. My town of Porthcawl

:36:35.:36:41.

took in many refugees from Belgium, as did many across the United

:36:42.:36:47.

Kingdom. It also is a lesson that today we still carry with us. The

:36:48.:36:55.

importance of refuge, the importance of offering support to refugees and

:36:56.:37:02.

support for civilians. Who more often than our military personnel

:37:03.:37:06.

are the ones who are slaughtered during warfare. One of the things

:37:07.:37:18.

that happened as a result of the First World War, was we had a

:37:19.:37:24.

recognition that we needed to take responsibility for how we dealt with

:37:25.:37:33.

war. Because in the second battle of Ypres, using poison gas for the

:37:34.:37:40.

first time, the Germans create alarm in the stricken British and French

:37:41.:37:54.

defenders. It also led us to look at later developing a law of armed

:37:55.:38:01.

conflict. It led us to look at international humanitarian law. And

:38:02.:38:08.

what was going to be acceptable and what was not going to be acceptable.

:38:09.:38:13.

And it is with horror that we still look at the use of gas in Syria,

:38:14.:38:22.

something we thought we had stopped and which everyone in this House, no

:38:23.:38:29.

matter what political party, roundly condemns and views with the horror

:38:30.:38:33.

that we view its first use back in 1915. We also read with horror the

:38:34.:38:46.

stories of the impact of that relentless pounding on the mental

:38:47.:38:52.

health of the people who fought and on the refugees who traipsed back

:38:53.:38:57.

and forth across the countryside, trying to find safety. I will tell

:38:58.:39:03.

you this much, I might not have been wounded in the body, but I was

:39:04.:39:07.

wounded in my mind. I don't know if you can imagine it, but obviously

:39:08.:39:12.

when the shell fire you get down to get cover, only an idiot wouldn't

:39:13.:39:16.

get down, you get down and you can't get your nails into the ground and

:39:17.:39:19.

you can't get your head under the ground and you can't go any further.

:39:20.:39:23.

You're on the the ground and your nails are dug in the ground and the

:39:24.:39:28.

shells are bursting around you and they're not just bits of metal,

:39:29.:39:34.

they're hot metal and guns going and pandemonium, how do you get out of

:39:35.:39:40.

this unscathed in it is a miracle if there is such a thing as a miracle.

:39:41.:39:49.

Was was written by sergeant Bill Bill Hay. It is a graphic

:39:50.:39:54.

description of what it must have been like to be in that hell. Sunday

:39:55.:40:06.

May 2nd, 1915, my grandfather noted it was a dull day and we rested and

:40:07.:40:12.

a lot of troops wept past suffering from the gas A terrific bombardment

:40:13.:40:17.

commenced and the noise was terrible. This is the heaviest

:40:18.:40:22.

bombardment I have heard. I had to go somewhere at 9 o'clock, it was

:40:23.:40:27.

dark and shells were bursting over my Med. It was a terrible experience

:40:28.:40:32.

in the black darkness. The roads are full of our chaps suffering from gas

:40:33.:40:40.

poisoning. The diary ends on Wednesday July 14th, 1915. Went to

:40:41.:40:47.

lay a line to the head quarters and finished at dinner time. There was

:40:48.:40:52.

heavy bombardment last night, in front of trenches between the area.

:40:53.:41:04.

I left for England, arriving at Boulogne at 9. That is the last we

:41:05.:41:11.

know of my grandfather on his day-to-day experiences. He died at

:41:12.:41:24.

the third battle of Ypres. I know the driver Albert Ironside, 1875,

:41:25.:41:35.

died on 22nd July in 197. -- 197. He is -- 1917. He buried in Belgium. In

:41:36.:41:43.

the area of the dressing stations were named by the troops with comic

:41:44.:41:50.

names. They cemeteries continue their names. We don't know when he

:41:51.:41:56.

was injured or how he died. We were told he was poise sonned by gas.

:41:57.:42:04.

From the 10th July 1917, mustard gas was used every night against the

:42:05.:42:11.

British positions. The Glamorgan journal has an article which has

:42:12.:42:19.

been over the whole period run amazing exhibitions about the First

:42:20.:42:22.

World War and explaining to people the local contacts and the local

:42:23.:42:27.

people, the service that they gave and the impact on the town. In the

:42:28.:42:34.

article it is suggested that German tactics had changed and allowed the

:42:35.:42:38.

British to cover an increasing amount of game in the hope they

:42:39.:42:44.

would lose momentum. Forward signalling parties would become

:42:45.:42:48.

involved in the fight and Albert may have been trapped and died fighting.

:42:49.:42:54.

So what are the lessons we learn? What are the knowledge one man's

:42:55.:42:59.

experience can give us? Never again should we send people to war without

:43:00.:43:04.

full preparation and the kit and the equipment that they need. We have

:43:05.:43:10.

done that recently. Member of this House did not want to send anyone

:43:11.:43:14.

into Afghanistan with the wrong equipment. But we did. It is

:43:15.:43:19.

something that we must always, always question before we make the

:43:20.:43:25.

decision. We have learned there are few short wars. And all wars have

:43:26.:43:33.

long-term consequences. Those who came back and their families and

:43:34.:43:39.

their communities had to live with their experiences. And that war

:43:40.:43:46.

still resonates here with us, with their families even today.

:43:47.:43:54.

Accountability of generals has increased, the Defence Select

:43:55.:43:57.

Committee, this House, demands to know why mistakes were made, why

:43:58.:44:03.

things happened. I think we are better at doing that. I think it is

:44:04.:44:09.

a most honourable role that we play here. All working men and married

:44:10.:44:22.

women achieved the vote. As a government frightened that those men

:44:23.:44:28.

returning from the horrors, armed and experienced, would revolt

:44:29.:44:31.

against a government that didn't give them the vote. They had the

:44:32.:44:36.

vote, but they still faced the horrors of the great depression. If

:44:37.:44:45.

I may end on a positive note, in the first election following the

:44:46.:44:51.

conflict Labour tripled its vote and five years later, formed a

:44:52.:44:55.

Government for the first time. Thank you. Kevin Brown. With the leave of

:44:56.:45:06.

the house I will reply on behalf of the opposition. We have had I think

:45:07.:45:11.

an excellent debate with some extremely good contributions across

:45:12.:45:17.

the House. We had the member for Broadland who gave us a

:45:18.:45:22.

knowledgeable and thoughtful contribution that enlightened us. A

:45:23.:45:26.

contribution from the honourable gentleman resuming his place on

:45:27.:45:31.

behalf of the SNP for Glasgow South who spoke e-Quently on behalf of his

:45:32.:45:37.

party. We should thank the member for South West Wiltshire for all

:45:38.:45:43.

that he has done to help organise the commemorations with regard to

:45:44.:45:46.

the First World War and also he posed I think the important

:45:47.:45:51.

question, would he pay the price if we knew it in advance? It is

:45:52.:45:54.

question I think we can never know the answer to for obvious reasons,

:45:55.:46:00.

but one we should always consider when these kind of decisions are

:46:01.:46:03.

before us. My honourable friend who is not in his place, the member for

:46:04.:46:12.

Newport West, told us of his own father's participation in the

:46:13.:46:15.

battles at Passchendaele and rightly I think reminded the House that

:46:16.:46:20.

although we say we must learn lessons, often we don't learn from

:46:21.:46:25.

these conflicts and he rightly referred to the famous will Fred

:46:26.:46:29.

Owen poem, in his remarks. I think we were all moved hugely by

:46:30.:46:39.

the contrary should form the Honourable member from backing them.

:46:40.:46:44.

He had the House transfixed with his own compelling account of the

:46:45.:46:47.

reality of being in conflict and we thank him for his service to our

:46:48.:46:51.

country as well as his contribution today. Then we were fortunate to

:46:52.:46:56.

have some wonderful maiden speeches during the course of the debate and

:46:57.:46:59.

I want to pay tribute to the Honourable member for Bedford for

:47:00.:47:04.

his maiden speech. Eat holders of his personal journey from Kashmir to

:47:05.:47:10.

Bedford and he also paid quite tribute to his predecessor who is

:47:11.:47:13.

someone I knew from my days in university and was a very fine

:47:14.:47:16.

member of this House and I was pleased that he did that and he is

:47:17.:47:20.

obviously very proud of his constituency and I think his

:47:21.:47:24.

constituents have every right to be proud of him to for his contribution

:47:25.:47:30.

to the debate today. The Honourable member for Elmet and Rothwell who I

:47:31.:47:35.

know is starring later in our proceedings again today, I think he

:47:36.:47:38.

also called as a very moving personal story from his own family

:47:39.:47:42.

and reminded us of the consequences of the aftermath of war which I

:47:43.:47:45.

think we should all remember and paid tribute to his own father who

:47:46.:47:48.

was watching our proceedings today. The Honourable member for diver

:47:49.:47:57.

Merioneth spoke about the Welsh poet who was killed at the Battle of

:47:58.:48:01.

Passchendaele and then we have a typically knowledgeable contribution

:48:02.:48:06.

from the Honourable member for New Forest East, the defence committee

:48:07.:48:11.

chair, who he was a very detailed and vivid portrayal of the futility

:48:12.:48:16.

and horror of the battle which certainly brought great wisdom and

:48:17.:48:22.

knowledge to our proceedings. Can I congratulate also the Honourable

:48:23.:48:27.

member for Glasgow North East on his excellent maiden speech. I think it

:48:28.:48:32.

is customary to express the view when a member makes a maiden speech

:48:33.:48:36.

that that's member has a bright future possibly at the dispatch box.

:48:37.:48:41.

It took me six years to get to the dispatch box, Madam Deputy Speaker.

:48:42.:48:45.

He has rather beaten that records as he told us he will be making his

:48:46.:48:48.

debut at the dispatch box just next week I think and we wish him well in

:48:49.:48:54.

that role. I'm sure he will do very well indeed in that role and he also

:48:55.:49:01.

mentions, Madam Deputy Speaker, Michael Martin, the previous

:49:02.:49:05.

speaker. When I was a young new MP, I had the temerity to ask a question

:49:06.:49:11.

in this House without wearing a tie, Madam Deputy Speaker, in 2002 and I

:49:12.:49:16.

was quite rightly admonished by the Speaker at that time. But times have

:49:17.:49:22.

changed, as we know, but I have never quite got over that so I am

:49:23.:49:25.

still wearing my tie despite the new dispensation that there still is in

:49:26.:49:31.

the House. The Honourable member, a new member for Stirling, who did not

:49:32.:49:39.

make a maiden speech otherwise altered was, told us personally that

:49:40.:49:45.

he visited the Menin Gate and experience of the ceremony there and

:49:46.:49:50.

said that all schoolchildren to do that and we would agree with that.

:49:51.:49:53.

He is referred to the war memorials in his own constituency and quite

:49:54.:49:57.

rightly reminded us of the cognition of the Commonwealth troops in the

:49:58.:50:01.

First World War, including those from India and we should remember

:50:02.:50:05.

there were 1.3 million people volunteered for the British Indian

:50:06.:50:09.

Army during the First World War. 70,000 of them lost their lives

:50:10.:50:12.

during that war and he was quite right to remind the House of that

:50:13.:50:17.

fact. My honourable friend the member for Heywood and Middleton

:50:18.:50:19.

that holders of the events being organised in her constituency to

:50:20.:50:22.

commemorate Passchendaele and told us the fascinating story of Walter

:50:23.:50:27.

Marsden who won the military Cross as the battle and who also sculpted

:50:28.:50:32.

the figure of peace on the war memorial in her own constituency and

:50:33.:50:35.

it was a pleasure to hear the fine maiden speech from the new member

:50:36.:50:41.

for Ceredigion who, I think, made it very appropriate tribute also to his

:50:42.:50:45.

predecessor, Mark Williams, who was genuinely liked across the House by

:50:46.:50:49.

different parties. He introduced yet another Welsh word into the debate

:50:50.:50:55.

during his speech which, Madam Deputy Speaker, means a deep longing

:50:56.:50:58.

for home. He clearly loves his constituency. He described as the

:50:59.:51:01.

most beautiful in Wales. I should remind him that it is in fact the

:51:02.:51:06.

murder capital of Wales because for those of us who occasionally watch

:51:07.:51:11.

Hinterland, the television series which is made in his constituency,

:51:12.:51:16.

although he has invited us all to visit it, we are all a bit nervous

:51:17.:51:19.

because the murder rate seems particularly high. Almost as high as

:51:20.:51:24.

Oxford in Inspector Morse on the other channel. But he made his

:51:25.:51:27.

constituency sounds like the Garden of Eden and I hope Honourable

:51:28.:51:30.

members, I'm not suggesting that original sin was invented here, but

:51:31.:51:36.

we should visit. It is a very, very peaceful poisoning is a very bright

:51:37.:51:39.

future in this place so long as he never achieved his ambition of Wales

:51:40.:51:44.

leaving the United Kingdom in which case I think you will have to give

:51:45.:51:47.

up his seat in this place and this House would be poorer if that were

:51:48.:51:51.

ever to happen. Can I also congratulate my honourable friend

:51:52.:51:55.

the mentor for Bridgend who told us that very poignant story of the

:51:56.:52:00.

diary of her grandfather from the front and how will she uses its

:52:01.:52:04.

contents as inspiration for the fine work she does on the Defence Select

:52:05.:52:09.

Committee in this House and we were all, I think, moved immensely by

:52:10.:52:14.

what she told us. It falls to me really to pay tribute to all those

:52:15.:52:19.

who gave their lives, as I did at the beginning and is the minister

:52:20.:52:23.

did, in the First World War and particularly in the Battle of

:52:24.:52:26.

Passchendaele which we are discussing today and for those who

:52:27.:52:29.

still give service to us in our Armed Forces. I think today's debate

:52:30.:52:34.

is a hugely appropriate tribute to them. The greatest tribute, as

:52:35.:52:38.

others have said, I think that we can all give is to do all we can to

:52:39.:52:43.

promote peace and let us all pledged today to do just that. Mr John

:52:44.:52:52.

Glenn. With the leave of the House, I would like to respond also to what

:52:53.:52:57.

has been I think an excellent debate which I hope that this House in good

:52:58.:53:02.

standing for those that are watching today. We have had 13 backbench

:53:03.:53:07.

contributions and three excellent maiden speeches and I won't repeat

:53:08.:53:12.

excellent words of the Honourable gentleman who speaks for the front

:53:13.:53:15.

bench in going through all of them, but I would just like to, I think,

:53:16.:53:21.

mention the three maiden speeches, so firstly the Honourable member for

:53:22.:53:28.

Bedford who would just like to pay tribute to his words today and the

:53:29.:53:32.

way that he spoke about his predecessor does him great credit. I

:53:33.:53:39.

think the whole house would be very aware of his commitment to Bedford

:53:40.:53:42.

and we wish him well in his future in the House. Then we come to the

:53:43.:53:53.

member for Glasgow North East. I don't want to sound too much about

:53:54.:53:58.

quaking knees and trembling at the dispatch box, but it took me seven

:53:59.:54:02.

years to get here and I'm very pleased for him that it is only

:54:03.:54:06.

going to take him a few weeks. But I wish him well in his career in the

:54:07.:54:12.

House. And then thirdly I was like to turn to the young member for

:54:13.:54:18.

Ceredigion. I would like to applaud him for his composed and measured

:54:19.:54:25.

contribution for his first time in the House. He described his

:54:26.:54:31.

constituency very fully, but also as the capital of Welsh culture. I

:54:32.:54:35.

think that'll be a contested title from what I've heard from other

:54:36.:54:39.

contributions today. But I wish him well in the House too. So, I'm very

:54:40.:54:44.

grateful for all the contrary should we have had and I will refer to a

:54:45.:54:49.

few of my honourable friends as I make a few reflections. As we've

:54:50.:54:56.

heard, this battle, the Battle of Passchendaele, which touts

:54:57.:54:58.

communities across Britain and Ireland and across the world was a

:54:59.:55:07.

very, very grim event. A series of events. And it is right that we take

:55:08.:55:11.

this opportunity to reflect on the bravery, insurance, service and

:55:12.:55:16.

sacrifice of those involved in particularly remember that

:55:17.:55:18.

conditions in casualties were horrific for soldiers on both sides

:55:19.:55:25.

of the line. In the spirit of the personal reflections that I think so

:55:26.:55:29.

many colleagues from across the House have shared, I would like to

:55:30.:55:33.

read a first-hand account of Passchendaele given to me by a

:55:34.:55:40.

constituent of mine who is a distinguished battle tours veteran.

:55:41.:55:44.

And I would just like to read this out. While I and others were taking

:55:45.:55:53.

supplies into the line at Ypres, we waded through mud all the way. It

:55:54.:55:59.

was very necessary to keep following the leader strictly in line, for one

:56:00.:56:06.

false step to the right or left sometimes meant plunging into

:56:07.:56:10.

dangerous and deep mud pools. One of our men was unfortunate enough to

:56:11.:56:13.

step out of line and fall into one of these models. Knowing from past

:56:14.:56:19.

experience that quick action was needed if we were to save him from

:56:20.:56:23.

quickly sinking, we got hold of his arms and try to pull him out. This

:56:24.:56:29.

did not produce much result and we had to be careful ourselves not to

:56:30.:56:34.

slip in with him. We finally procured a rope and managed to rip

:56:35.:56:40.

it securely under his armpits. He was now gradually sinking until the

:56:41.:56:44.

mud and water reached almost to his shoulders. We tugged at that rope

:56:45.:56:51.

with the strength of desperation in an effort to save him. But it was

:56:52.:56:58.

useless. He was fast in the mud and beyond

:56:59.:57:03.

human aid. Reluctantly, the party had to leave him to his fate and

:57:04.:57:10.

that fate was gradually sinking inch by inch and finally dying

:57:11.:57:16.

ossification. -- of suffocation. The neat personnel now knew he was

:57:17.:57:21.

beyond all aid and begged me to shoot him rather than leave him to

:57:22.:57:26.

die a miserable death by suffocation. I did not want to do

:57:27.:57:31.

this, but thinking of the agonies he would injure, if I left him to this

:57:32.:57:38.

horrible death, I decided a quick death would be a merciful ending. I

:57:39.:57:44.

am not afraid to say therefore that I shot this man at his own most

:57:45.:57:50.

urgent request, thus releasing him from a far more agonising end. Madam

:57:51.:57:59.

Deputy Speaker, this is the reality of the human misery that we are

:58:00.:58:05.

commemorating today. It is a human misery that my honourable and

:58:06.:58:12.

gallant friend, the member for Beckenham spoke of with such

:58:13.:58:19.

personal authority when he said war is disgusting and horrid. But it is

:58:20.:58:25.

important that we, as a nation, commemorate what happened. And I

:58:26.:58:32.

would like to remind the House that these events on the 30th and 31st of

:58:33.:58:38.

July, when they are done, we will focus to the centenary of the

:58:39.:58:44.

Armistice in November 20 18. And I would urge Honourable members from

:58:45.:58:49.

across the House to consider the resources available to ensure local

:58:50.:58:52.

constituencies engage in the commemoratives programme. There are

:58:53.:58:58.

many Heritage lottery funding projects taking place up and down

:58:59.:59:03.

the country where local communities are exploring and learning about

:59:04.:59:09.

their First World War heritage. And since April 2010, the Heritage

:59:10.:59:14.

lottery fund has awarded over ?86 million to more than 1700 project

:59:15.:59:23.

across the UK to mark the centenary. 7 million people have engaged in

:59:24.:59:30.

First World War heritage and as the Honourable member for Cardiff West

:59:31.:59:35.

said, poetry, songs and arts keep us going. He is so right. Secondary

:59:36.:59:40.

school students continue to join the battlefield tours with nearly 1500

:59:41.:59:45.

schools taking part so far and the Government was to ensure a lasting

:59:46.:59:48.

legacy of First World War and remembrance and education. After

:59:49.:59:55.

all, we only to those who briefly fought 100 years ago on our behalf.

:59:56.:59:59.

So whether attending events in Belgium or within the UK or watching

:00:00.:00:04.

on television, we will remember all those affected by this dreadful

:00:05.:00:10.

battle 100 years ago and ensure that they shall never be forgotten. It is

:00:11.:00:17.

right that this House remembers all those who made the ultimate

:00:18.:00:19.

sacrifice in service of their country. The question is that this

:00:20.:00:29.

House has considered commemoration of Passchendaele, the third Battle

:00:30.:00:40.

of Ypres. As many of opinions say I. IMac. I am not going to put the

:00:41.:00:47.

question for no. The ayes have it, the ayes have it. The question is

:00:48.:00:56.

that this House doing now adjourn. Mr Alec Schalk Brits. Thank you,

:00:57.:01:08.

Madam Deputy Speaker. Madam Deputy Speaker, on the 9th of August 2013,

:01:09.:01:17.

a terrible tragic and preventable accident took place on a swivel

:01:18.:01:23.

and's farm in my constituency and 11-year-olds have a Whitlam died

:01:24.:01:26.

from injuries he sustained after being struck by a reversing farm

:01:27.:01:27.

vehicle. But the Crown Prosecution Service

:01:28.:01:38.

did not bring a prosecution as the accident was deemed to have occurred

:01:39.:01:44.

on private and not public land. Harry and his mum Pamela actually

:01:45.:01:49.

live in my honourable friend's constituency, she very much regrets

:01:50.:01:53.

she is not able to be here, but she is on maternity leave. Pamela worked

:01:54.:02:02.

in the cafe kitchen at this working farm that like many have

:02:03.:02:12.

diversified. Areas are designated as private and public, but the boundary

:02:13.:02:17.

was not clearly defined. The police investigation was clear as to the

:02:18.:02:21.

lack of separation between public and private areas. They reported

:02:22.:02:27.

that, upon approaching the scene from Swithin's lane there was no

:02:28.:02:33.

signage or other barrier that would restrict public access or inform a

:02:34.:02:38.

person entering they're in a nonpublic area of the farm. Harry

:02:39.:02:49.

was a regular visitor to the farm, especially in the holidays. He

:02:50.:02:55.

assisted in the farm work. He was a familiar face and well known to the

:02:56.:03:00.

farm staff and there was another young boy who helped in the same

:03:01.:03:04.

way. On the morning of the accident, Harry arrived first thing at the

:03:05.:03:08.

farm with his mum. He was keen to meet up with his friend and lend a

:03:09.:03:12.

hand with building a new wall that was going to house some Meerkats. He

:03:13.:03:17.

went off for a short while, returning to the cafe, accompanied

:03:18.:03:23.

by one of his farm hand friends and ordered breakfast from him mum.

:03:24.:03:28.

Approximately 15 minutes later accident occurred. Harry was in the

:03:29.:03:35.

farm yard when he was hit by a slurry trailer being reversed by a

:03:36.:03:42.

trobgtor. -- tractor. He was badly crushed. The air ambulance flew him

:03:43.:03:49.

to Leeds General Infirmary, but Harry died from his injuries. The

:03:50.:03:53.

investigation revealed that Harry had been walking across the back of

:03:54.:03:56.

the slurry trailer from right to left when he was struck. He had

:03:57.:04:02.

gained access to to this working area by a route that was not in I --

:04:03.:04:12.

in any way cordoned off. There is no evidence that Harry was running. And

:04:13.:04:20.

evidence presented by PC Martin Ward confirmed the view from the cab was

:04:21.:04:25.

good and that Harry was there to be seen. He concluded that Harry would

:04:26.:04:29.

have been in the sight of the driver for quite a long time. And that it

:04:30.:04:40.

was a very low impact speed. Due to the anomaly in the law that this

:04:41.:04:44.

debate seeks to address, the driver, Mr Gary Green, despite being

:04:45.:04:50.

overdouble the drink drive Liverpool was only prosecuted -- drink drive

:04:51.:04:55.

limit was only prosecuted under the health and safety at work act and

:04:56.:05:00.

the family had to 17 months before the Health and Safety Executive

:05:01.:05:06.

should prosecute for for failing to ensure the safe of people. This

:05:07.:05:13.

makes it sound like it was nothing more than a tragic accident. The

:05:14.:05:20.

truth is Gary Green was drunk and having drunk such a huge quantity of

:05:21.:05:26.

alcohol, he knowingly and willingly took control of heavy machinery and

:05:27.:05:30.

killed a young boy when all investigations show that if he had

:05:31.:05:40.

been alert he would have stopped his vehicle as Harry was in plain sight.

:05:41.:05:48.

Due this is to being an health and safety prosecution he was sentenced

:05:49.:05:53.

to six months imprisonment. If he had been charged with causing death

:05:54.:05:59.

by careless driving, the maximum would have been 14 years

:06:00.:06:11.

imprisonment and there is scope for unlimited fine and the Crown

:06:12.:06:14.

Prosecution Service advise it is probably that had Green been

:06:15.:06:20.

prosecuted under the road traffic act he would probably have received

:06:21.:06:24.

a sentence of around six years. The disparity between the sentencing of

:06:25.:06:28.

what is the same offence, driving while under the influence of alcohol

:06:29.:06:34.

is unjust and is at odds with a society that widely condemns such

:06:35.:06:36.

behaviour. The Crown Prosecution Service reported they were unable to

:06:37.:06:41.

bring a prosecution atz the accident happened on private land. The

:06:42.:06:45.

questions have been asked as to whether the Crown Prosecution

:06:46.:06:49.

Service were instructed to revise an investigation that they consider a

:06:50.:06:53.

manslaughter charge and I have been advised that the police did

:06:54.:06:57.

thoroughly investigate the matter, man slaughter charges were

:06:58.:07:00.

considered were according to the Crown Prosecution Service it didn't

:07:01.:07:09.

pass the test for gross negligence manslaughter. The law seeks to make

:07:10.:07:19.

this analysis irrelevant by calling for parity of esteem. In 2010, David

:07:20.:07:27.

John Arthur, 62, tried to convince magistrates he was not guilty of

:07:28.:07:32.

drink driving, because he was caught in a Tesco supermarket, claiming it

:07:33.:07:36.

was private property and the law did not apply. He was convicted. In

:07:37.:07:48.

2012, Lisa Doctorate drive to a caravan park. She had an alcohol

:07:49.:07:56.

reading of 102 microgrammes and believed she could drive because it

:07:57.:08:00.

was private land. He was found guilty. But in 2012 a priest, Peter

:08:01.:08:10.

Maguire was double the limit when he come lieded with a vehicle in a car

:08:11.:08:16.

park. His defence was it was private land and he was found not guilty on

:08:17.:08:25.

these grounds. There are law firms who boast of getting around our laws

:08:26.:08:34.

and getting people off. I struggled whether to name and shame them in

:08:35.:08:39.

this chamber. But I fear I would only give free advertising. They

:08:40.:08:48.

seek to blatantly disobey the law and look for legal loopholes to get

:08:49.:08:53.

away with it. I think the majority of this House would have rightful

:08:54.:08:59.

contempt for these so-called practitioners of law. The road

:09:00.:09:04.

safety charity have said as a road safety charity we know the

:09:05.:09:08.

devastation caused by drink driving and a drunk driver in charge of a

:09:09.:09:12.

vehicle of any type is a lethal combination. Whether it takes place

:09:13.:09:17.

on public or private land ought to be irrelevant. The time has come to

:09:18.:09:24.

ensure that in the same as if you were to kill someone in your home or

:09:25.:09:34.

on the street, a parity of esteem must exist. The In particular, the

:09:35.:09:45.

offence of driving under the influence of alcohol or drug,

:09:46.:09:48.

regardless of where that vehicle maybe. The law would prevent other

:09:49.:09:58.

families having to go through Pamela's trauma of losing her son

:09:59.:10:02.

and finding a prosecution could not be brought. You may remember a few

:10:03.:10:07.

years ago you were in the chair when I brought another case to this

:10:08.:10:14.

chamber about a young boy a day before his 20th birth day killed by

:10:15.:10:20.

a drink driver. How far often to people have to come here and try and

:10:21.:10:26.

do something about our drink driving law and that justice is given to at

:10:27.:10:33.

least bring closure to the family. I ask anybody who is a parent how they

:10:34.:10:38.

would feel if their only child was killed and the immediate reaction

:10:39.:10:43.

was we cannot prosecute, even though that driver was drunk and in all the

:10:44.:10:48.

investigations showed that he had plenty of time to see this young

:10:49.:10:53.

boy, it was a low impact speed and the police investigation said he was

:10:54.:10:58.

there to be seen. Harry is dead because of a drink driver and it

:10:59.:11:04.

shames us all that he cannot be prosecuted because of a loophole in

:11:05.:11:10.

the law that some solicitors out there will exploit to get people off

:11:11.:11:19.

what is a crime. I close with a simple but heartbreaking statement

:11:20.:11:24.

from Pamela. She says, I believe there should be no distinction

:11:25.:11:29.

between private or public land if someone is found to be in charge of

:11:30.:11:33.

a motor vehicle whilst under the influence. By driving in is in state

:11:34.:11:39.

they not only endanger the lives of other, but put their own lives at

:11:40.:11:44.

risk. It is a sad fact that some law firms pride themselves in exploiting

:11:45.:11:49.

this legal loophole, using it to get drivers acquitted. It is even more

:11:50.:11:55.

distressing to me when they quote my son's death as an example of how

:11:56.:12:06.

they can beat the system. Thank you. Mr John Heys. Thank you. I thank the

:12:07.:12:21.

member. He has highlighted what will have moved everyone who heard it

:12:22.:12:26.

today. I'm the father, as he knows of two young sons and I respond to

:12:27.:12:32.

this debate not only as a minister, but also in that capacity too. We

:12:33.:12:40.

have just been debating in the House this afternoon Passchendaele. How

:12:41.:12:44.

unfortunately we should come to the adjournment only to turn to another

:12:45.:12:50.

tragedy. I'm grateful to my honourable friend for bringing the

:12:51.:12:55.

tale of Harry to this cham bemplt I offer my -- chamber. I offer my

:12:56.:13:07.

condolences to the family. Regret bri, although the country has a good

:13:08.:13:15.

record of road safety nshs 2015, there were 1,750 road deaths in

:13:16.:13:20.

Britain. Motor vehicles were responsible for deaths away from the

:13:21.:13:28.

highway. In 2016/17 being struck pay vehicle was the cause of 31 deaths

:13:29.:13:33.

of workers according to the statistics compiled under the report

:13:34.:13:38.

of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences regulations. This makes

:13:39.:13:43.

it the leading cause of worker fatalities. Harry was a child. He

:13:44.:13:48.

wasn't a worker in a formal sense of course. But he was in entitled it

:13:49.:13:54.

seems to me to the same attention from those about him that any worker

:13:55.:14:01.

would have expected or been entitled to. Our law recognises the highway

:14:02.:14:07.

can be dangerous and it is because of this that motor vehicles will be

:14:08.:14:12.

moving at speed close to each other and other road user, the offences of

:14:13.:14:18.

careless and dangerous driving have been framed in that context. Once we

:14:19.:14:23.

look away from the highway, the range of activities using a vehicle

:14:24.:14:29.

which take place on private land multiply in unimaginable profusion.

:14:30.:14:34.

Activities such as motor racing, designed to demonstrate the skill of

:14:35.:14:40.

drivers, in ways that would not be appropriate on the open highway.

:14:41.:14:44.

Workers on a construction site may be controlling vehicles in spaces

:14:45.:14:48.

which they know don't have firm foundation or walls. Drivers who are

:14:49.:14:55.

at an airport share the ground with air graft with all the dangers that

:14:56.:15:02.

that might bring. All of those drivers owe a duty of care to those

:15:03.:15:07.

about him. That duty of care comes not from being employees, not from

:15:08.:15:13.

being drivers, but from being human beings. With a responsibility and a

:15:14.:15:23.

duty of care to their fellows. That can never been greater than when one

:15:24.:15:28.

thinks of young people, of children. A responsibility to take care for

:15:29.:15:37.

those around us must be surely in our hearts exaggerated, even greater

:15:38.:15:41.

when speaking about vulnerable people, the very young, the very

:15:42.:15:46.

old, the frail, the disabled people, infirm people and so on. So the

:15:47.:15:56.

context in which this debate takes place is one where I understand my

:15:57.:16:03.

honourable friend's frustration that more currently is not being done.

:16:04.:16:08.

For more than 40 years, the health and safety at work act 1974 has

:16:09.:16:14.

provided a framework for ensuring that work places are safe. There is

:16:15.:16:20.

a reporting regime. Not all private land is a work place and places can

:16:21.:16:31.

be a work place and home. I beg to move the House do now adjourn.

:16:32.:16:38.