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Tuesday 16 October 2018

“We must remember” – Help for Heroes Volunteer Philip Schofield

Posted by: Help For Heroes | Categories: Fundraising

Veteran Lt Col Philip Schofield, MBE, badly wounded on operations in 1978, and who served in the Royal Green Jackets for 37 years before retiring in 2008, wanted to give something back to his fellow Servicemen and women. He was inspired to volunteer for Help for Heroes:

“I owe a debt of gratitude to the Armed Forces and hold so much respect for those who support us – irrespective of wealth or background, their generosity is humbling.”

With Perspex Tommies in pride of place in homes across the country, the There But Not There campaign has struck a chord with many people. Like so many others, Philip finds the Tommies to be particularly poignant because they represent a family member, his grandfather, who served first in the Artists’ Rifles and then the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War:

“One of my grandfather’s wartime photos is one he took from his aeroplane of the German front line on the Somme before the 1st July 1916. There’s an intricate network of trenches, protected by barbed wire that’s 20-30 yards thick. 20,000 men were killed that morning against that wire. We should all remember their sense of duty of those men, and their sacrifice.”

Philip was present at one of the instances when the Tommy, There But Not There, was remembered. He describes for us how the sight left him in awe:

“In one village, from where 53 young men had been killed, a parade was held to commemorate the centenary of World War One. Fifty-three children carried a full-sized, from the waist up, Perspex ‘Tommy’ into the village church. As the service ended, and after The Last Post had been played, the congregation filed out down the aisle: each pew, left and right of us, was filled with the Tommy figures, their unseeing eyes silently watching us as we passed. The pews were empty, but not empty. The young men were ‘there but not there’.  We were all very moved.”

This poignant sight combined with his family’s military heritage has made the act of purchasing and owning a Tommy even more important to him:

“We must remember our Armed Forces because they were, and they are, the people who have done and continue to do their duty to protect us.”

As a further act of remembrance, Philip has passed his grandfather’s wartime memorabilia onto his godson so that a future generation will never forget.

Join us, and Philip, in remembering the sacrifices of the past century whilst proudly supporting our wounded, injured and sick today and for the next 100 years.

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