Afghanistan veteran with medals and child
15 August 2014

Learning the lessons of the past: World War One Centenary

In this blog David Murray, Chief Executive of SSAFA, explains why the Centenary of WW1 is an opportunity to learn from the lessons of the past.


Learning the lessons of the past: World War One Centenary at SSAFA

Chief Executive of SSAFA. Before joining SSAFA, David served in the RAF from 1979 to 2012. As Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff, he provided strategic oversight of world-wide welfare support to serving families.

 As the nation turns its attentions to marking 100 years since the start of the First World War, a number of us believe that the Centenary is an opportunity to learn from the lessons of the past. One lesson that stands out particularly strongly to me, as Chief Executive of SSAFA, is the spirit of bravery and optimism in the face of such terrible times, demonstrated not only by the soldiers at the front but by the families they left behind. We see the same courage in those we support today – be they serving personnel, veterans or family members coping with injury, illness or personal difficulties.

The song ‘Pack Up Your Troubles’ encapsulated that spirit during WW1, and is still sung and played today. It became what many would call the ‘viral hit’ of the Great War, and we at SSAFA are hoping to breathe new life into it for the Centenary.

Members of the Military Wives Choirs and a host of famous faces have come together with many of those SSAFA has supported over the years to record a new video of this truly uplifting anthem.