The numbers are different.

World War Two

British military deaths by enemy action (all Services)…………….383,000

British civilian deaths……………………………………………………………………75,000

Casualties were high, many civilian families suffered multiple losses, especially during the bombing of Britain. We entered the War badly prepared, we had many reverses, we were badly served by some quite senior politicians, and a lesser number of military figures. Our mobile armour was, to put it bluntly, pathetic. The Royal Air Force had, in service, three different types of bomber, all of which were mobile death traps. By the greatest good luck, we also had the Supermarine Spitfire and the Hawker Hurricane as air defence fighters, as well as the electronic wizardry of basic Radar. The Royal Navy was perhaps the best equipped and prepared, but even then our Capital ships were old, and ill-equipped for modern naval warfare. The secret mental weaponry of Bletchley Park was being assembled, but the electronic decoding equipment which sprang from the agile mind of Alan Turing was yet to be constructed.

Yes, we battled, we lost good men and women by bullet, bomb, bayonet and treachery, but with the aid of Allies such as the Free Poles, Free French and Dutch, all of the Empire forces, and subsequently the might of American industrial and military men and weaponry, Hitler and subsequently the Japanese were defeated. It was, above all, a just war, against expansionist and evil people.

Afghanistan

British military deaths (all Services)………………373

This was the Day!

Today’s date has special significance for me on one count, it was the day my daughter was born.

For everyone else, however, this day should be perhaps one of the very, very few days when we should thank the stars above for the planning, the luck, the bravery, the sacrifice and the determination that Good shall triumph over evil!

Few amongst us knew the extent of the ferocity and hatred unleashed by the Nazis and their allies. All most of those who lived through the dark days from 1939 knew that this was, in Churchill’s words,’the beginning of the End’. I myself was but four years old, and the headlines passed a small boy by.

Let us therefore pause, and remember all who took part in this, truly ‘The Longest Day’, remember those who fought and lived, and those who did not!