They will not be forgotten – my Morley Observer Column

In Morley Cemetery on Bruntcliffe Lane, scattered among the family headstones, are 62 graves for members of the armed forces from the First and Second World War. These members of our armed forces weren’t killed in action, but after serving overseas, had returned home and then sadly died either from their injuries or from illnesses such as the Influenza pandemic at the end of the First World War.

On Friday, marking the end of Remembrance week, I joined Stephen Liversage from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Fred Ashworth from the Morley Branch of the Royal British Legion on a tour of these specially commissioned headstones.

Like many of the casualties from the First and Second World Wars, many of these were very young soldiers – like young Edgar Foster who was just 18 when he was injured during the sinking of HMS Russell in 1916. Or 22 year old Francis Bedford who had been serving in the Royal Air Force when he died in 1943.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission ensure that the service and sacrifice of these soldiers is not forgotten. Their vital work ensures headstones and graves are properly maintained and commemorated.

In the hundredth anniversary of the First World War, as we remember those who left their families to go into battle, never to return, we remember the sacrifices made to protect the freedom that we still enjoy today.

I would urge anyone who hasn’t had the chance to do so to take a visit to the Cemetery in Morley to see for themselves these graves – memorials which mark the sacrifices made by local soldiers in the First and Second World Wars. A full list of those buried in Morley Cemetery is available at

This year’s Remembrance Sunday commemoration in Morley showed, yet again, just how much our area respects and values the sacrifices made. There is always an huge turnout for Remembrance Sunday locally but this year seemed to be even bigger than usual with many hundreds of people lining the streets around the War Memorial in Scatchered Park.
As I laid my wreath I reflected on how remarkable it is to see so many local people – adults and children from across the generations showing their respect and appreciation for our armed forces.
And with hundreds of British troops currently serving in West Africa, in the run up to Christmas we will continue to remember the efforts and sacrifices British troops make. Currently, 750 of our troops are stationed in Sierra Leone, providing medical staff and setting up facilities to treat patients suffering from Ebola. This outbreak has already killed over five thousand people and threatens many thousands more.

Health and illness don’t follow geographical rules and borders. There is currently no vaccine for the Ebola virus. Which is why research into a cure and efforts to treat those who are infected to prevent the spread of the disease are so vital.

Britain has taken the lead among the international community with the deployment of troops and resources. But it’s not enough. As the World Health Organisation has said, this is an epidemic that threatens the whole world and we all have a responsibility to take it seriously and do what we can to eradicate this virus.

Which is why I was so heartened to see, 30 years old, Sir Bob Geldof pulling together Band Aid 30. I was 17 when the first Band Aid single was released in 1984. Back then the whole country seemed to rally behind the cause to raise much needed money to combat poverty and starvation in Africa.

Times have changed a lot since 1984. Then I bought the first Band Aid single in Woolworths and this time round I’m much more likely to buy it as a download. But in other ways history already seems to be repeating itself. As I write this week, already over a million pounds has been raised by the British public.

And George Osborne has now agreed to ensure the Government do their bit by waiving the VAT on sales of the record. Quite right too!

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Posted November 19th, 2014 by Ed

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