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My remembrance

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Poppies_in_the_Sunset_on_Lake_GenevaFOR many , Remembrance Day is more than a commemoration of the thousands of men who gave their lives for our freedom. Men whose stories we hear but will never get to meet. For many of us, it marks a personal tribute to the men of our own families whose lives and innocence was lost and whose bravery must never be forgotten. This year marks the centenary of the First World War and the strength and courage of those men is more poignant than ever. This is my remembrance for the three generations of my family who fought in the First and Second World Wars. My Great Grandfather, George, was a Dockyard worker who spent his spare time repairing clocks. Like many of the young men he was called up with, he had no idea of what War would be like, of the conditions he would live in and the terrible things he would see. He was proud to be fighting for his country, so he left his home in Devon to become a soldier in WW1.

He was part of the machine gun co, spending most of his service in the trenches. He was also involved in the Battle of Somme in 1916 which is most likely where he sustained his injuries. He was lucky not to be one of 58,000 troops killed during the battle. I don’t remember much about Great Granddad, except that he was very quiet and watchful. He never talked about the war or its effects on him. My Granddad, Robert, was a bricklayer and keen motorcyclist from Devon. When he was enlisted, he offered his services as a bricklayer.

There wasn’t any need for builders so he began infantry training in 1942. He later became a motorcycle Dispatch Rider (military messenger), serving for 5 years in North Africa, Italy and Palestine in several antitank regiments. Granddad kept a diary, a very frank account of what he saw and felt during the War. He was badly injured when a passing shell hit a farm house on the road he was walking down. Throwing himself to the ground, he remembers being littered with debris and a sharp pain in his back. It was later found that shrapnel from the shell had gone into his back, leg and shoulder.

This was removed in an operation but years later he could still feel small pieces of shrapnel in his knee and finger. Like many soldiers, Granddad wrote home to his family during the War. We discovered these letters after he’d passed away. There was also a prayer book, with an inscription inside by my Great Grandfather. This little book came safely through World War 1… Darling Bob, hoping you will come safely back to us.

The letters are heartfelt exchanges between a worried mother and a brave son. My Great Gran talks of my Great Grandfather ‘fire watching’ and the ‘Yanks’ nearly running her over in their Jeeps. Also the terrible silence as my Great Granddad works on his clocks and she sits with nothing to do but wait and worry. My Grandfather reassures her that he is well, requesting small items of comfort and to pass on his good wishes to friends at home. On leaving the War, Granddad wrote his diary entries into a book which I typed up for him and he had printed in 2008. Sadly he passed away in 2011, but I will never forget the tall man, who talked modestly about the war, cracked jokes at his own expense and loudly banged the side of the chair in time to the band on the Festival of Remembrance.

My Dad’s Great Uncle John Harris, affectionately known as Jack, left his family in LLanfrynach, Brecon in 1914. He joined the machine gun co and was heavily involved in front line battle. He died in a POW camp in Belgium in Sep 1918 just weeks before the Armistice. My Dad’s Uncle still has the letter from the British Red Cross announcing his death. In 2010 my family travelled out to France, to find the War Grave of Jack. They talk about the rows of grave stones, looking out over the Channel and the way they are beautifully kept by the locals. I think this was a cold realisation of all the lives lost, the Sons, Brothers, Fathers and Grandfathers who will never come home.

I am proud of my family’s military history and of the men and women who continue to fight for us. November 11 is a day to remember these people and the way they suffered to give us the freedom we enjoy today. We should never lose sight of that, of what it means to be alive, to share compassion. It’s the only way we can ever truly be thankful.

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Community

Public urged to take part in Council budget consultation

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MEMBERS of the public are being urged to participate in Pembrokeshire County Council’s budget consultation 2022-23.

Launched this week, the consultation asks the public where they think the Council needs to spend money, and where it can save it.

As part of the process, the Council has created an online budget simulator, which includes videos from Cabinet members talking about the financial pressure in their portfolio areas.
Cllr Bob Kilmister, Cabinet Member for Finance, encouraged all those interested in how the Council spends its funds to take part in the consultation.

“It’s very important that we hear from as many people in Pembrokeshire as possible,” he said.

“Like other Councils, we are once again facing significant budget pressures and understanding community and household priorities is vital in helping us to make the difficult choices necessary in setting the 2023-23 budget.

“We look forward to hearing from you.”

How to take part in the consultation:

Teams Live Stream event
Join a Teams Live Stream event on Wednesday 1st December from 7pm – 8pm. Put your budget questions directly to Cllr Kilmister or the Council’s Director of Resources, Jon Haswell, or listen to the discussion. Questions are welcomed in English and Welsh.

Budget Simulator
Give your views on the budget priorities for 2022–23 by using our Budget Simulator which is available at https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/

Download the survey and return to County Hall
Alternatively you can download and complete our hard copy Information and Response Form. Once complete please return to surveys@pembrokeshire.gov.uk or Pembrokeshire County Council, Policy & Partnerships, County Hall, Haverfordwest, SA61 1TP.

The consultation will end on Wednesday 5th January 2022.

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Community

Milford Haven Council cancels annual Christmas lights switch-on event

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Council cancels Christmas lights

MILFORD Haven Town Council have announced that they will be cancelling the official switching on the Christmas lights event this year.  

The Christmas lights in Milford Haven will be turned on Wednesday, December 1 at 7pm. However, unlike previous years, this will not be an official event. 

In the past, the event would see Father Christmas switching the lights on while on a balcony at the Town Hall. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, the official turning on of the lights is unable to go ahead.

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Community

County Hall to be lit up in orange as part of UN campaign

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COUNTY HALL is being lit up in orange tonight (Thursday, 25 November) to highlight the United Nations campaign against gender violence #OrangeTheWorld: End Violence Against Women Now!

The UN is holding 16 days of activism against gender-based violence from 25th November to 10th December 2021 under the global theme set by the UN Secretary General’s UNiTE campaign.

Among the local groups supporting the worldwide campaign are Soroptimists International Haverfordwest which requested the illumination. “This is a campaign that, as a women’s group, we feel it very important to support,” said member Susie Blacklaw-Jones.

Council Leader Cllr David Simpson supported their request, saying: “This is an incredibly important issue and we are grateful to Soroptimist International Haverfordwest for helping to draw attention to the campaign and raise local awareness.”

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