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Remembrance Sunday

Jeremy Kingston is inspired by Lt Gen Sir John Kiszley's frank admission

‘a tremendous networking opportunity’  – Lt General Sir John Kiszley’s comment on the Festival of Remembrance. He subsequently resigned as president of the British Legion.

How true it is, when each year, come November,
we gather here at Whitehall to remember
those gallant fellows we sent out to die,
whose sacrifice we’re here to glorify.
Other Ranks, yes, but subalterns as well
who, and the nation mourns their passing, fell.

Yet there’s no cloud so dark it does not show
comforting silver to those in the know.
One’s gaze acknowledges the Cenotaph,
acknowledges a former Chief of Staff.
Splendid to see so many men one knows
helpfully gathered in these friendly rows.

One looks along the line of eminences –
Yes, the new Minister of Defence is
present, good, we must have a word or two
concerning certain personages who
have something rather good, though costly too,
but likely to appeal to GHQ.

One does, of course, expect some recompense
for all one’s work defending our defence.
One also has to offer heartfelt thanks
to all those subalterns and Other Ranks
who nobly sowed the seed that now bears fruit.
Their sacrifice we honour and salute.

There, that’s the last wreath laid. So now to work.
Battle of Britain. Spirit of Dunkirk.
Remembrance Sundays may be sombre, yet
they offer opportunities to net-
work fruitfully with others of one’s kind:
suggestions noted; contracts later signed.

Throughout retirement moments have occurred
to be of service.  –  Minister, a word . . .