Pay tribute to war victims

Northumberland and Tyne and Wear branches of SSAFA have celebrated Armed Forces Day for 2013.

While we enjoyed the celebrations, we would have remembered the personal cost that is so often paid by our servicemen, women and their families.

It is also good time to remember those of the Korean War, as the anniversary of the end of this conflict falls on the July 27. This war was between North Korea and South Korea.

Prior to the commencement of the war on June 25, 1950, Korea was divided at the 38th parallel into communist North Korea and non-communist South Korea zones of occupation in 1948 where rival governments were established.

Relations between North and South Korea became strained, particularly when North Korea mounted an invasion of South Korea, thereby the start of the Korean War.

Casualties of USA and Allied Troops amounted to 54,000 dead – of which 1,139 were British Service personnel from the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Thousands of others were imprisoned or injured. Many of those who fought were National Servicemen, young men called up for duty without option. For many of those who served, the mental and physical wounds of this so called ‘forgotten war’ have left them with lifelong scars. It is reckoned that North Korea casualties were 10 times higher.

All who serve, or have served, in our Armed Forces will remember SSAFA is here, regardless of the conflict they have served in, to support them and offer help if they find themselves in need. Just call us. Do not suffer in silence, your friends are ready to help.

The network of SSAFA trained volunteers, including our Northumberland and Tyne and Wear branches and their divisions work locally to make sure that help is always close at hand. If you would like to find out more about the help we can offer or would like to become a volunteer for SSAFA where we offer lifelong support for our forces and their families’ and we always remember that their commitment deserves our commitment. For further information please contact:

Major Brian Finlayson,

Public awareness and fund-raising officer,

Northumberland Branch SSAFA,

Tel: 01665 576756,

Email: northumberlandpao@gmail.com

Places left on war visits

Between, Wednesday, September 18 and Monday 23, I will lead a coach party to Lincolnshire, Holland and Germany to mark the 70th anniversary of the Dambuster raid by 617 Squadron and to attend ceremonies in Arnhem to mark the 69th anniversary of the Bridge Too Far.

In Lincolnshire, we will visit RAF Scampton 617 Squadron’s base where we will see Guy Gibson’s office and the squadron museum.

We will also visit the Battle of Britain Memorial flight at RAF Coningsby to have a close-up view of the Lancaster, Spitfires and Hurricanes.

We travel from Hull to Holland staying in Arnhem and in Germany to the Mohne Dam.

Among other places, we will visit the Hartenstein Airborne museum, Guy Gibson’s grave at Steenbergen and Reichswald Forest cemetery where many of the Dambusters crews are buried.

We still have a few places left and can give details to any of your readers if they contact me at 2 Eden Gate, Warcop, Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria CA16 6PL or telephone me at 017683 41060 or 07710 270640.