JUST over a month ago my wife and I, along with the family dog, spent a very welcome holiday in France. The weather turned out to be perfect for doing nothing too strenuous, the temperature varying between 27ºC and 36ºC.

On one of the hottest days we decided to take advantage of the heat to undertake a journey which we have several times in the past. The theory being that as it was too hot to even just sit around, we could keep cool by travelling in a car with the aid of the air conditioning.

Our aim was to visit the British and Commonwealth War Cemetery at Bayeux. On this, as on previous occasions, we took flowers to put on the grave of a Cirencester man killed on D-Day whose family is known to us. This is always a moving and thought provoking thing to do.

Standing in the peaceful well kept surroundings of the cemetery with the immaculate regimented rows of white stone memorials, many planted with roses bordered by well-manicured lawns, it is impossible to contemplate the carnage represented there.

A few yards from our local man’s grave are Russian and Jewish headstones and elsewhere other non-Commonwealth Allied casualties and over 400 Germans. Across the main road outside the cemetery stand monumental arches bearing names of 1,808 of those with no known grave.

On that sunny peaceful afternoon I just wondered what those who sacrificed their lives for future generations would make of our present situation, where many of the nations are led by dysfunctional governments led by those with questionable intellect or moral values, where war and threat of war is still an ever-present reality.

Having secured peace in Europe for over 70 years what would the British casualties make of our imminent abandonment of much of what they died for?

It’s all very well to keep remembering tragic anniversaries but another thing to honour the sacrifice and put self interest to one side.

But that’s just a thought.

The Salvation Army, Cirencester