IT is a scene that has been played out in cities, towns and villages up and down the land for nearly 100 years.

And so, it was again, in Ludlow and Tenbury, in our market towns and villages.

People gather, uniform groups march, led by the Royal British Legion and wreaths are laid down at war memorials, the last post is played.

In a world that has changed so much it is comforting that so very little has changed about the ritual of Remembrance Sunday – the Sunday in November closest to November 11 – the date in 1918 when the guns fell silent at the end of World War One.

This year as so often seems to happen the day was chilly but bright with the autumn sunshine making the colours of the poppies all the more vivid.

In Ludlow and Tenbury it is notable just how many young people, who thankfully no nothing of war, pay their respects.

Sadly, the number of veterans who are still able to pay their respects to fallen comrades is becoming ever fewer.

The last serviceman of the First World War died a number of years ago and even the youngest of those who fought in the second will now be in their 90’s.

Of course, servicemen did not stop dying in the service of their country in 1945. Since then they have been involved in conflicts all over the world including Korea, Suez, Aden, Malaya, Northern Ireland, Iraq, the Falklands and Afghanistan.

It is not a numbers game and Joseph Stalin was correct when he said that a million dead is a statistic but one death is a tragedy. But as the size of our forces has dramatically fallen the number of men and women to have fought and died has been thankfully relatively few since 1945.

In the First World War the number of British servicemen who died was 880,000 including 19,000 on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. There were 320,000 British service deaths in the Second World War and since 1945 7,100 servicemen and women from the UK have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

In the 12 months since the last Remembrance Sunday, one British serviceman has died on active service – on anti-poaching duties in Malawi.

At one time almost every family in the land would have someone in the forces or who had served in the forces. This is no longer the case. Conscription in the UK ended in 1960 and the last conscripted soldier left the service in 1963 – 56 years ago.

So, the link between the services and the mass of the population has become more tenuous. British Legion Branch membership is in decline.

Yet huge numbers continue to turn out as they did in Ludlow and Tenbury. Nothing lasts forever and the ritual of Remembrance Sunday will eventually go the way of all things, but not for a long time if the evidence in Ludlow and Tenbury is anything to go by.