My interest in both world wars began when I was 11 years old when my father took me to the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon, London. I experienced the incredible pleasure of meeting the Royal Air Force ‘Fighter Ace’ Douglas Bader who at the time was only about 70 years old and obviously struggling and in pain due to the loss of both legs. I was captivated from the moment I met Bader and all those gallant men that served in the Battle of Britain collecting autographs avidly. I began collecting books, medals, uniforms onwards and have amassed a healthy collection to this day. My whole reason for doing this is to never ever forget what men, women and children went through for the price of their and our freedom. This is not a fascination with war but our history and remembrance to those that gave their lives and for the lucky ones that survived who gave up simply the best years of their life. My own grandfather Tom who is now 94 years old and served under Field Marshall Montgomery as a humble yet dedicated Private in the 8th Army certainly missed out on his prime years as a young man. I regularly make visits with my family and friends to various battle sites including Normandy and Holland to pay homage.
Over the past 20 years seeing those numbers of veterans both men and women decline always brings a sad thought so partly I feel responsible to continue to pay our respects to all those service men and women including our allies. If anybody has not had the chance to visit one of the 1st and 2nd World War cemeteries dedicated to service people then I would highly recommend you do as one of the things you must do before you die!
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