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Every old soldier, sailor, airman or airwoman attending a ceremony of this kind must bring with him or her personal memories.It is well known that those who return from war find it hard to describe to civilians what they have been through and that a gulf often opens between them and those nearest to them.

It was not the case that his experiences had been traumatic.

Unlike one of my grandfathers, who could never be persuaded to tell us of his experiences in the trenches in France, he was quite ready to talk about the war and told me that only once in nearly six years had he found himself under fire.

The memorials became centres for a ritual, whether in Whitehall or in tiny villages, that rivals only Christmas and Easter in the public mind, and is even more inclusive because it involves the commemoration of men of women of many faiths and none, while millions who will never attend the ceremonies mark their support by wearing red poppies.

War memorials had occasionally been constructed before 1918 but most were triumphant records in paint or sculpture of victories or heroes.

I am very happy in the position I’m in at the moment. She admits it was never a job she thought she'd end up doing while she was reading mathematics at Oxford University."I didn't imagine it in the slightest.

I don't feel the need."However, her relationship with the 35-year-old Latin and ballroom dancer, does seem to be going from strength to strength."We've just been on holiday. It was a job Carol Vorderman did for 26 years so it wasn't even an offer."I'm a numbers geek.Rachel Riley shocked fans when she announced she was dating her Strictly Come Dancing partner Pasha Kovalev last September.The pair hit it off instantly after meeting on the BBC1 ballroom contest in 2013 and, while Rachel was married at the time, the couple insist that nothing romantically happened until she had separated from her husband of 16 months Jamie Gilbert.He was, in fact, on the other side of the world and absent from us for four years, and I remember as a small child praying for him every evening, although I had, of course, very little idea of the loss my mother, who was very young, must have felt. Although with hindsight I can now recognise signs that he had not adapted easily to postwar life, he had given us the surface impression of normality.Going through his personal papers, I discovered two Army cases containing every scrap he could preserve of his war service — passbooks, signals, army concert programmes, the scarlet cap band he wore as a staff officer — but hard as I hunted I could find no souvenir whatever of his peacetime career. During all the time I knew him I had no idea that his attitude to his surroundings had for 36 years been of an entirely different order from the rest of us.It may be that the sense of being engaged in something worthwhile far outweighed anything afterwards.

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