Recognising debt owed

Crawley MP Henry Smith's latest column
Crawley MP Henry Smith's latest column

As we approach Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day, especially in this centenary year of the First World War, it is right that we recognise the debt owed to those who have lost their lives or sustained serious injury in every conflict to defend British freedoms over the past 100 years.

In March I congratulated Crawley Borough Council in the House of Commons on its tribute of planting Flanders and wild flower poppies across the town. It is been inspiring to see people in every neighbourhood and park get behind this effort to show that we all remember.

Recently, I asked Crawley Town Football Club if they would join the Tickets for Troops scheme – an initiative where members of the Armed Forces can receive free tickets for various shows and sporting events.

I was delighted when the Club confirmed that they would indeed sign up, and became the very first organisation in our town to do so. Members of the Armed Forces can now receive free tickets to Crawley Town’s home league games.

We will not forget the sacrifices made by those from our town, whose service includes the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and the Prince of Wales’s Company, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards.

It is so important, as a town and as a country, for us all to remember the sacrifices of those who put themselves in the line of fire to ensure our freedoms are ensured.

Every community throughout the United Kingdom was affected by the loss of those who fought during the First World War, including the then small town of Crawley, and surrounding villages such as Ifield, Three Bridges and Worth.

The 888,246 ceramic poppies, each one to represent a British military fatality during the First World War, being placed around the Tower of London is a tribute which reminds us of the tragic human cost of war, which must never be forgotten.

The Every Man Remembered campaign, organised by the Royal British Legion in conjunction with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, honours the memory of those who fell during the conflict.

I will be paying my own respects at the annual service of Remembrance at St John the Baptist’s Church on Remembrance Sunday, 9th November. I hope you will be able to join us, in this centenary year of the Great War’s outbreak.

If there is ever anything I can do to help any serving or former members of our Armed Forces or their families, please get in touch, by writing to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or by emailing me directly via