Celebrities join SSAFA to keep the nation's history alive
To mark the centenary, SSAFA calls on the public to help keep the nation’s history alive by sharing their family stories and photos from the First World War.
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This year commemorates the 100-year anniversary of the most significant moments in British history – the end of World War One.
Celebrities including Antony Cotton, Helen McCrory, Joanna Lumley, Dame Kelly Holmes, Fleur East and Dan Snow have come together to share their stories and photographs in support of the SSAFA campaign. Read their stories here.
The campaign is in response to recent research commissioned by SSAFA, which found that Millennials aged 18-to-36 have very little knowledge of the First World War and the devastating events that surrounded it, compared to previous generations. As Millennials are the first generation who may not have known a family member who lived or fought during the Great War, it is perhaps not surprising they have a limited knowledge of the war, compared to their older relatives.
SSAFA is appealing for stories to be shared via www.ssafa.org.uk/worldwar100 or by using the hashtag #WW100 in the hope to receive at least 1,000 family memories by the end of 2018. These stories will be accessible to younger generations in years to come to ensure nobody ever forgets the sacrifices made during WW1.
SSAFA was the only national Armed Forces charity in operation during World War One. At the outbreak of the war, the Government called on SSAFA to take care of the families of soldiers going to the Front Line. SSAFA was there for our Armed Forces and their families then, and is still here for them now.
Justine Baynes, Director at SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, says:
“The further we move away from World War One, the more important it is for us to keep the stories of bravery and courage alive to commemorate the 700,000 British soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our country.
“SSAFA is calling on families across the country to share their stories with the younger generations - so that they will be forever celebrated and never forgotten.
“SSAFA is the UK's oldest military charity and was the go-to charity to help Forces families during the Great War. We have been there for our Armed Forces community for over 130 years and will continue to be there for many years to come.”
Coronation Street Actor & SSAFA Ambassador, Antony Cotton, says:
“SSAFA not only honours and respects those who are serving today, it also celebrates those who fought in the past; whether that be in Afghanistan, The Falklands or in the trenches.
“This photograph has been in a photo album at my mum’s house for years and we have never known the identity of this man. We believe he is my maternal Great Grandfather but as my grandparents died young, no one can verify this.
“He has become known as ‘The Unknown Solider’ within my family and each year, I visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in London and think of him.
“It is incredibly important that families continue to pass down stories and photographs of family members who sacrificed their lives for our country. Our brave soldiers from the First World War through to more recent conflicts must not be forgotten. We will remember them.”
English Actress and SSAFA supporter, Helen McCrory, OBE, says:
"My maternal Great Grandfather, Albert Lionel Bradbeer, was buried alive in the trenches. He came home suffering from shell-shock or what would now be recognised as PTSD. He was unable to return to the work he loved and died five years later.
He was one of seven brothers Edwin, James, Charles, Robert, Ernest and Frederick Bradbeer all of whom were professional golfers and fought in The Great War.”