We have just passed the day that is allocated to national remembrance for the fallen in war and I hope your own commemorations went well. It strikes me that as a nation it all passes in a rush. Poppies appear for sale on the first of the month and by the end of Remembrance Day it is all over for another year. In recent years, I think the acts of remembrance on the 11 November, as well as Remembrance Day are a welcome development.
The RAMC has lost many members in war and, as an example: in this centenary year, I have been reading about the Somme offensive and among the casualty figures discovered that in the 1916 Somme campaign alone, the RAMC lost 400 doctors killed and wounded; there must have been many others in additional roles, but I have not seen a number. One of the essential objects of the Association is to perpetuate the memory of those of our Corps who contributed so much to the defence of our Country and way of life, particularly those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Ours is a continuous commemoration, of which there are many examples: my own Branch has a few moments silence at the beginning of every meeting: the pages of the Books of Remembrance in Westminster Abbey are turned with dignified ceremony: those Books of Remembrance are reproduced on-line and are available on this website. WE SHALL REMEMBER THEM.
I wrote in my last piece that the Association had been invited to attend the Armistice commemoration at Pont-Remy, Somme. Four members, including two standard bearers travelled there to represent the Association and we found the ceremonies very moving.
Another of the objects of the Association, closely allied to remembrance, is the education of the public (and ourselves) regarding the history deed and traditions and role of the RAMC. The Army Medical Services flagship concerned with this is the recently re-named Museum of Military Medicine and you can read about the move of the museum to Cardiff in the News section of this web-site. The museum has recently been delighted to hear that it has been chosen to receive £2 million from the LIBOR Fund in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement, which is a superb endorsement for its work. Continuing funding is still essential, however and I would ask everyone to think to have a look at the museum web-site and think about becoming a friend of the Museum.
Christmas is upon us again and the New Year. As you get your 2017 diaries, do put the dates for our national Corps functions into them. The main ones will be: the annual service and lunch at the NMA, followed by the Association AGM, on 10 May: Corps Sunday on 18 June: and, of course, Remembrance Sunday on 12 November. There will be the other lunches, lectures and dinners, so keep looking at the web site.
The Festive Season is arriving at an alarming rate, so I wish all of you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a good start to the New Year.