Children lend a hand at Remembrance Sunday.jpg

Children lend a hand at Remembrance Sunday


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THE COMMAND and crew of the British Devonport-based frigate HMS Somerset were back in Lisbon over the weekend in time to lend a hand at this year’s Remembrance Day service at St. George’s Church in Lisbon.

Apart from the line-up of officers and crew along the pathway of the British cemetery leading to the church, the company lent a hand with parts of the proceedings of the service which included collecting funds for the Royal British Legion national Poppy Appeal.

Most people know what the poppy symbolises, but how many young children, so removed from the tumultuous events of World War II, let alone the Great War, understand the significance?

That’s why part of this year’s service, led by the Revd William Ross, Minister of St. Andrew’s Church of Scotland, Lisbon, was rather novel. For instead of the usual pulpit sermon from up on high, the sermon was simple and down-to-earth.

A handful of youngsters from the congregation were selected to come forward and try and figure out something of the meaning of the world wars and the significance of the poppy.

After the Revd Michael Bullock of St George’s Church read out the names of those who appear on the War Memorials in the Church and those who died in the wars and whose bodies are buried in the cemetery, Revd Ross explained that he would include the young people in the service because it was “important since they represent tomorrow and they should know what we’re doing and why we’re doing it”.

He explained to the children that Remembrance Day came out of the 1914-1918 Great War when, in the beginning, men were “rushing to get there” thinking the war would be over by Christmas.

Line-up of officers and crew of the British Devonport-based frigate HMS Somerset
Line-up of officers and crew of the British Devonport-based frigate HMS Somerset

Yet in the Battle of the Somme (1916), 21,000 men were being killed a day, groups of young men from the same small town or neighbourhood, often known as ‘Pals’, would all go together to their deaths, decimating entire communities, leaving areas without hardly a young man left.

“This is for every war in every age where people give their lives for our freedom and tomorrow. You are the guardians for the next generation to ensure that we never have another party, man or woman, with so much power that they are above the law,” said Revd Ross.

He also explained how the poppy came to perfectly represent the community of fallen in the various 20th century world wars, a single flower representing a person, yet a field of poppies blending together to show an entire community of those who lost their lives.

After the service, there was a cash bar in the Joan Croft de Moura Hall behind the church, organised by the members of the Lisbon Sub Branch of the Royal British Legion.

For more information on the work of the Legion in Portugal and membership, contact Daz Behenna on 917 307 163 or 214 404 297. Also visit