Rail companies unveil support for British service personnel and volunteers as the nation marks Armistice centenary
Together the rail industry is remembering all those fallen and affected by war by supporting remembrance acts across the country, offering free travel for Service personnel and Royal British Legion volunteers.
This November marks 100 years since the end of the First World War, during which 186,475 railway workers served under arms, and during which nearly 19,000 lost their lives.
Across the network, all train companies are offering free travel to active British military personnel travelling to and from Remembrance services on Sunday 11 November. Added to the 1/3 discount offered by train companies year-round through the HM Forces Railcard, members of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force could save over £14 million this year.
Working as official partners of the Royal British Legion, the rail industry has also offered free travel to approximately 3,000 volunteers currently registered to raise money in poppy day collections taking place in Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and London. This will support an expected fundraising total of over £1 million to provide lifelong support for the Armed Forces community.
Paul Plummer CEO of the Rail Delivery Group which represents the rail industry said:
“This centenary year, we remember those who worked tirelessly to keep Britain’s railway moving during the Great War and the thousands of railway workers who served under arms.
“As part of our long-term plan to boost communities, we are supporting fundraising for those affected by war and encouraging service personnel to sign up for a HM Forces rail card.”
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
‘This year’s Remembrance is full of significance with the hundredth anniversary of the end of the First World War, so I am really pleased that the men and women of our Armed Forces will be helped with their travel as they mark this event. Alongside the volunteers of the Royal British Legion our people make an important contribution to the ceremony and solemnity of Remembrance across the UK.’
Ian Parker is a senior railway engineer with Network Rail and former Staff Sergeant with the army reserves, who spent 27 years with the Royal Engineers being deployed all over the world whilst still serving the railway.
Ian’s Great Uncle, William Charles Lane was a Railway Porter working for the South Eastern & Chatham Railway when he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps on the outbreak of war. Pte Lane was deployed to the Western front in Jan 1915 and returned home safely, continuing to work on the railways until his retirement in 1954.
Ian Parker VR said:
“I am honoured to represent my 240,000 railway colleagues as together we remember the railway workers who served during the Great War and those who kept trains running during a most difficult time in our nation’s history.
“I was proud to serve in the British army reserves and I am proud to continue my rewarding career in the railway.”