11th November 2023

As Remembrance Day approaches, it's almost time to proudly wear your poppy as a symbol of remembrance and gratitude. This significant day is observed in many countries as an opportunity to honor the brave soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice during the First World War, as well as reflecting on the service and sacrifices made by individuals who defended our freedoms throughout the years. Remembrance Day holds great importance and is marked by various meaningful traditions, such as wearing poppies and observing moments of silence in remembrance.

Remembrance Day this year will be on Saturday, November 11 in 2023, aligning with the day World War I ended at 11 am on November 11, 1918. On this solemn day, members of the Royal Family will lay wreaths at the Cenotaph, and at 11 am, a moment of silence will be observed, providing us all with a poignant opportunity to reflect and pay tribute to those who have given so much in service to others.

Grandad's father Albert 1st World War
My Family has a great tradition of serving our country, especially in the Royal Air Force, even before the RAF was founded Great Grandad Albert took to the skies and joined the RFC.

The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was the aerial warfare branch of the British Army during World War I. Established in 1912, it played a crucial role in revolutionizing military aviation and laying the groundwork for the creation of the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1918.

The RFC operated a diverse range of aircraft, from reconnaissance and bomber planes to fighters. Its brave pilots conducted aerial reconnaissance, engaged in dogfights with enemy aircraft, and conducted strategic bombing missions.

The RFC faced significant challenges, including the constant risk of enemy fire, technological limitations, and challenging weather conditions. Despite these obstacles, the courageous men and women of the RFC demonstrated exceptional skill, bravery, and determination, significantly influencing the outcomes of battles throughout the war. Their pioneering efforts in aerial warfare paved the way for the development of modern air forces and forever changed the nature of warfare.

William James Clarke served in both wars, he was on one of the last to be evacuated from Dunkirk as part of operation Dynamo on the 3rd of June 1940. I guess they call it PTSD nowadays, but Grandad never got over the wars and was looked down on as he took to the bottle. What a hard life, I wish I knew a lot more, but, he wasn't for talking about his experiences.
William James Clarke
Grandad 1945
Grandad Jack Pickup was a tank commander, he passed away at the age of 94, in his later years he suffered from Alzheimers disease and had nightmares about one particular story of seeing his enemy trying to escape, burning trying to get out of his tank. His dreams became more and more frequent, God rest his soul.
James Austin Clarke from Holywood Belfast, I don't even know if he was of legal age to join up, but he volunteered from hearing the declaration of war on the radio in September 1939. He did his training at RAF Cosford and was a technician with Spitfire squadrons.
Austin James Clarke

Colin Clarke

Here's me at the same base (RAF Cosford) as my Dad, 30 years afterwards, trying to grow a moustache in the greatest Brycleem boy tradition, As you can see, not much luck ;)

Daniel McKnight
Right up to the present day with my stepson Daniel McKnight, here he is with his proud Dad on his graduation. Danny won many catering awards for the Armed Forces team at Olympia and is currently a chef at a Michelin Star Restaurant in Lancashire.

So, that's some of who I will be wearing my Poppy for, plus all the comrades I didn't personally know.

I understand, this story might not belong on a commercial website. But, what the heck!

Colin Clarke
MD Brick technology Limited

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn;
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Laurence Binyon
Posted in Blog and tagged Poppy, Remembrance, Military on