Adam Spaul, Health Account Manager


Remembrance Day 2021: Time to Reflect My recent 10th anniversary of joining BAE Systems also marks the same anniversary of me leaving the Army. Having served for just shy of 23 years prior to joining BAE Systems, Remembrance Day provides time to reflect on my own service and those I had the honour of serving with or who served and sacrificed before me.
 
I was lucky enough to serve and lead in a variety of roles which took me to some amazing places and provided some fantastic, and several ‘challenging’ experiences. Throughout my career and time on operations and in barracks, I now chose most to reflect on the amazing people I led and worked with.
 
I would hope that society understands that the military is ‘a way of life’, but what makes it special is the people who serve. The level of physical, personal and emotional sacrifice needed is hard to comprehend without sharing the same experiences. I remain humbled by the professionalism, humility and humour with which they repeatedly tackle military life.
 
Remembrance Day is an international institution, used initially to reflect on the achievement and sacrifice after the First World War. Rightly, it now serves to commemorate the lives, careers and sacrifice of all Service personnel. I have spent Remembrance Days in different continents, on operations and in the UK; with perhaps the most memorable my last in uniform when I led the Royal Artillery Salute at Hyde Park Corner.
 
This year gives me the opportunity to reflect after 10 years in our company and consider the sacrifice of those who served before and the outstanding contribution our Armed Services continue to make both at home and around the world.
 
 

Rebs Foran-Coutts, Business Analyst


Remembrance Day 2021: Hardships When I was younger, Remembrance Day to me was an opportunity to see all the different services of the armed forces on display. I knew this day was to remember the fallen but to my mind I was recognising the efforts of those who had fallen during the two world wars.
 
Years later, and for someone who is now a veteran of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, Remembrance Day means something very different to me. Today, when we mark Remembrance Day, I think of two things. Firstly, the men and women I served alongside in a country where we faced great danger on a daily basis in a country far removed from our own. And secondly, I remember the families of those who have lost a loved one.  I can’t help but think that they must feel quite lonely as they come to terms with the loss, and at the same time walk in a society that, on the face of it, does not show the signs of having being at war.
 
Remembrance Day is one day where we can remind ourselves of the hardships that others before us have gone through and of the struggles that so many will continue to experience.
 
For me, if there is one phrase that says it all it is the Kohima Epitaph: “When you go home, tell them of us and say for their tomorrow we gave our today.”
 
 

Rupert Cook, Senior Business Consultant


Remembrance Day 2021: Stop and Remember I had the honour and privilege to serve in the Royal Navy between 1986 and 1999. Remembrance Day was an occasion that was never forgotten or diminished in value or meaning. Wherever we were at the time, be it underway or alongside, operational or on passage, in the UK or abroad, it was an opportunity to reflect and remember not only our colleagues serving at the time and their families, but also those who had served before us, or were no longer here.
 
Of course the day is, and always has been, a key date in the military calendar, but my awareness of its importance and the respect it deserves, pre-dated my uniformed service. During my time as a cadet at school, the event was continuously marked with the same respect and dignity that it deserved, and which I came to expect and revere later on.
 
Whilst I am no longer a serving member of HM Forces, the day and its significance will never dwindle in my mind. I attach as much importance to it now as I did when I wore a uniform. I try and instil in my children the same awareness of what it means and to whom, be that by wearing a red poppy or perhaps watching the televised Remembrance Day services and commemorations. We can all marvel at, for example, the impressive displays of exhibition drills, performed by the RAF’s Queen’s Colour Squadron without a single word of command, or the stirring music and impressive drum displays by the Royal Marines Band.
 
However, we should always take a moment to stop and remember the service, bravery and sacrifice of the Armed Forces community, veterans and their families from Britain and the Commonwealth.
 
Lest we forget.
 
 

Dylan Langley, Home Office Account Director


Remembrance Day is for me a day of reflection and thanks. A friend from my platoon died defusing mines in Afghanistan, leaving his young wife whom he had dated through university and training.
 
His funeral, which packed out Peterborough Cathedral, was by far and away the saddest event I have ever been to. He and his family sacrificed so much for us all to be able to enjoy our lives. It is a reminder to me to enjoy life and to spend your time on things you think will make a positive difference in this world.
 
 

Rob Thurmott, Business Consultant


Remembrance Day 2021: Tradition I had the privilege of being a member of the Royal Navy for six years, during which time Remembrance Day has always been a core part of our culture.
 
While sitting among a diverse range of veterans during my first Remembrance Day service in 2010 – from those who had served on the convoys in the Second World War to those who had just returned from Afghanistan – it struck me that what we shared in common, at that moment, was that we had all served with those who have given their lives for us. And so it was upon us to remember them and upon me to continue the tradition.
 
As new entrants to whichever service we have chosen, we all go through initial training, from the Second World War veteran’s experience in the 1940s to my own training which had taken place only 11 months prior to that service in 2010. We all learn how to march, how to polish our shoes, how to carry out basic military skills. And then finally we stand proud, on the parade ground, while a member of the Royal Family welcomes us formally into our respective service.
 
But then our paths diverge, as is the nature of military service. And some make the ultimate sacrifice; for their family, friends and country and for the freedoms we now take for granted, they gave their lives.
 
I’ve left the Royal Navy now, but will continue to uphold this tradition and will continue to remember them.
 
 

Alice Hughes, Project Manager


Remembrance Day 2021: Parade Growing up, Remembrance Day for me was always about my entire family attending our local Remembrance parade with my Grandad (a Merchant Navy veteran), proudly wearing his medals, his navy blue beret with his cap badge and paying his respects.
 
My Nan was a cook in the Women’s Royal Air Force and she once told me about the time she helped rescue a family from a burning building. I remember thinking ‘Wow!’ She wasn’t just my Nan who knitted me multiple rag dolls as a child, but she was basically a super hero too!
 
As I complete my fifth year serving as a reservist with the British Army, Remembrance is just as important to me now. I’ve been fortunate enough in my time with the Royal Engineers to meet and work with soldiers who have served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, and the Falklands, to name a few. Each story I hear about the sacrifices they and their families made and the losses they suffered makes me proud to serve. Whilst in more recent years I have paid my respects on Remembrance Day in Bristol, I hope to do so this year closer to my family home, as I once did as a child.
 
 

Rich Harris, Account Manager


Remembrance Day 2021 Icon Remembrance Day to me is a very special day – the experience of national cohesion, unity, and shared emotion is palpable and powerful. It is very important that we continue to come together to remember and recognise the sacrifices our nation’s people have paid for the price of peace. I find it is also a precious moment of individual reflection on time served in uniform and of absent friends. Remembrance Day allows me to express my gratitude to the people that make up our Armed Forces and process my own memories.
 
Moving from the Armed Forces to BAE Systems I have been able to retain a similar sense of motivational purpose: serving our nation – just in a different way. In my case it has moved from being concerned with the physical of the land environment: of bombs and bullets and manoeuvre, to the digital: of the increasing impact of ones and zeroes and networked systems. The threats our nation and allies now face continues to change, and adapting to protect our values against these new threats, through Industry and through close relationships with government, is a great comfort and a natural progression. It’s comforting to know that BAE Systems directly supports our clients in the Armed Forces while they ensure the security and prosperity of our United Kingdom.
 
At a time when the nation is still struggling through the effects of a global pandemic and its impact on our personal freedoms, it is ever more important to remember who we are as a people and those that have paid the ultimate price in conflict to sustain our freedoms for us and future generations. We are all forever in their debt and taking the time to remember that, and support the charities that help those that need it now, is what Remembrance Day is about for me.
 
We will remember them.
 
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