The events of the First World War must not be forgotten

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In 2010 Florence Green died aged 110 at a care home in Norfolk.

But there was more about Florence that was remarkable than her age – she had been the last surviving veteran of the First World War.

She had signed up to the Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) nearly 96 years ago in September 1918, when she was aged just 17.

There may be others still alive who lived through the war, but they were only children at the time, and as such cannot recall the actual conflict with the clarity of those who fought in it.

What they experienced is almost incomprehensible to us living in the relative comfort of the 21st century.

As we lose this physical link to the generations who lived through the war, it is more important than ever that we do not let those terrible events of 1914 to 1918 sink into the mists of history.

Fortunately, as we mark 100 years since the outbreak of war, it does not seem that we are in danger of forgetting just yet.

There were civic ceremonies in our town centres yesterday.

And Pompey unveiled next season’s kit, which features the names of the men of the 14th and 15th battalion of the Hampshire Regiment – the Pompey Pals – in its design.

Lights were also turned off around the country at 10pm last night for an hour in tribute to those who died.

While in some households a solitary candle of remembrance flickered movingly in a window.

In Belgium, 50 heads of state and dignitaries gathered for a ceremony marking the moment the world would change forever.

With some 17m people dying in the four-year conflict, it was described as ‘the war to end all wars’.

Sadly this proved to be incorrect as wars have ravaged almost every corner of the globe ever since.

It would be naive and idealistic to think that there will ever be a time without war – it seems to be too much part of human nature.

But that should not stop us from recalling the sacrifices of those who went before us, and fought bravely for our freedom.

We shall indeed remember them.

For more coverage of commemoration events to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War click here.