Posts Tagged ‘Royal Navy’

Anzac dead in captured Turkish trenches in Gallipoli

I wrote this poem remembering attending so many Remembrance Day services with my mother, whose husband, the father who I never knew, died at 46, a cheerful but essentially broken man, after six years of service in the Royal Navy..

I am very proud of this poem, both as a poem, in and of itself, and as an authentic expression of my feelings and some things I consider important.

I am largely a pacifist in my outlook, but I have great respect for those who put their lives on the line defending values I hold dear, and opposing tyranny.

It references not only those solemn services attended at memorials with my mother, but the many times since I have seen elderly people stand and pay their respects to the dead of both World Wars, and other wars.

Anzac DayThere is a wave of emotion sweeping Australia at the moment when Anzac day rolls around, with record numbers of people attending Dawn Services both around the country and in places overseas such as Papua New Guinea and Galipolli.

Increasingly, those people have young faces. The great grandchildren, grandchildren and children of those who were wounded, broken, and died. Why the sudden upsurge of interest? Perhaps younger people today look back to a past when the issues were simpler and convictions stronger.

I am also sure that the 39 Australian service people killed in Afghanistan since hostilities broke out there have something to do with it. The Americans and others have lost more people, of course, but those 39 lives are a grievous loss to a country with a population as small as Australia’s, just as the disproportionate sacrifice of the World War I diggers left a scar across the country that took generations to heal: the faces and stories of those brave young people killed in Afghanistan in recent years sure focuses the mind.

I am also reminded, on this solemn day, of the most important thing ever said about conflict, which is, of course:

“War will continue until men refuse to fight.”

If you are interested to purchase my collection of poems called Read Me – 71 Poems and 1 Story – just head here.

(Article re-published for Anzac Day 2013 and Remembrance Day 2014.)

There is nothing about this uniform, or that of any other British serviceman or woman, that should EVER be covered up, except for operational reasons.

There is nothing about this uniform, or that of any other British serviceman or woman, that should EVER be covered up, except for operational reasons.

Words fail me …Whilst I never want anyone to lose their job, in the old days, these staff members would be sacked. Nowadays they’ll probably be counselled and moved sideways.

Disgraceful. Hands up anyone who thinks Virgin should offer this office two First Class round the world tickets? Hands up everyone who will re-post, tweet and FB this story until they do?

Step forward, Richard Branson.

From Yahoo and others

A British Royal Navy officer was asked by Virgin Atlantic staff to cover up her uniform in case it offended other passengers, according to UK reports.

Petty Officer Nicky Howse was travelling on Virgin Atlantic from Los Angeles to Heathrow when staff asked her to change out of her uniform before boarding the flight, according to the Daily Mail.

“It was horrific,” Howse told a friend, via email. “I was made to feel uncomfortable in my own country for wearing the uniform I wear to defend the place. It made me ashamed of my country that a British serviceman can’t travel in uniform. I was so distressed.”

Although the Navy engineer refused to change out of her uniform before boarding, she was eventually forced to wear a set of airline

Bugger all the self-publicity, Dickie - how about making this up to the Petty Officer with a couple of tickets?

Bugger all the self-publicity, Dickie – how about making this up to the Petty Officer with a couple of tickets?

pyjamas for the duration of the flight.

“It started at check-in. Some G4S security guy gave me the third degree about travelling in uniform. I was fuming. He was rude, he wouldn’t let the check-in girl give me my passport.

“I was shaking with rage. I thought it was all done. But when I got to the departure gate I was taken to the side by the flight supervisor and they said I wasn’t allowed to fly in uniform and had to wear a sleep suit.

“I then stood feeling completely humiliated with other passengers, clearly curious as to what was going on, staring at me, waiting for him to come back with the black pyjamas.

“I asked if it was Virgin policy, they said “Yes”. I refused to wear it until after I was on board then still refused but basically got told I’d be asked to leave the flight if I didn’t take it off or cover it up.”

Virgin has since responded to press inquiries, stating that the airline has no such policy.

“This was a completely isolated case in which our staff were incorrectly advised by a security agent. We have made contact with the passenger in question to express our deep regret for any upset caused,” a spokesman told the Daily Mail.

But Howse says she was given a litany of excuses for why she shouldn’t wear the uniform.

“I was basically told it was because [the airline didn’t] only fly British passengers and told it was seen as a threat. I went ballistic. I said, ‘In the country I defend I can’t wear my uniform?’

“They then said it was for my own safety to stop abuse, to which I replied [that] I can deal with that myself if it arises, as I did in Afghanistan,” Howse said.

Colonel Richard Kemp, under whom Howse served in Afghanistan, called the incident “an insult to the Royal Navy and to the British armed forces who the Queen’s uniform represents.”

“This naval engineer has volunteered to serve and to fight for her country,” he added. “How dare Virgin Atlantic and G4S treat her like dirt?”