In 1944 my grand-father, a Normandy paratrooper, and thousands like him took part in what became a key part of the liberation of Europe from fascism. It's something I am extremely proud of. Before he passed away I had the chance to spend many summers in Normandy with him and his fellow veterans as they shared their memories and camaraderie.
It was this experience that encouraged me to join the Territorial Army Reserves. I passed out from Sandhurst Military Academy in 2006 as an infantry officer in 7 Rifles. In 2009 I served a 3 month combat tour of Afghanistan. Some of my experiences can be viewed here on this link to a short BBC 1 documentary.
Our armed forces consist of our sons, daughters, cousins, nephews, nieces, husbands, brothers, wives and friends. It reflects the entirety of our society. It is an organisation as capable of being used for peace keeping, humanitarian aid and defence as much as it is wars of aggression. The reality is our armed forces do not decide where they are sent, only how they conduct themselves whilst on those operations. It is our politicians whom decide where they are sent and what in the main those objectives are. It is therefore they who must shoulder responsibility for the actions of this country on the international stage.
As such I am immensely proud of the men and women I served with - the vast majority of whom were nothing but professional in their approach. Such experience has given me insights I'd be hard pressed to find anywhere else in life and for that I will always be grateful.