Armed Forces Day underpins the ethos in which Corps Security, as it is today, was created. Captain Sir Edward Walter founded the Corps of Commissionaires in 1859 with the specific social mission to provide gainful employment to servicemen after serving in the Crimean War. Today, as the oldest security company in the world, that mission still drives our enduring commitment to the Armed Forces.
Our world continues to change yet the need for dedicated servicepeople who sacrifice so much of themselves to protect our country remains. The contributions of these individuals and the value they bring to the security industry cannot be overstated.
With approximately 1.85million veterans living in England and Wales, 3% of the UK workforce is comprised of veterans. Proudly, a significant number of our own Corps colleagues are ex-service people and with this front of mind, we continue our ongoing partnerships with Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health, and SSAFA, the armed Forces charity, to aid the vital support they provide to veterans.
In April this year, Corps Security raised over £11,000 for Combat Stress by cycling from Glasgow to London during a seven-day challenge the length of the country, beginning at the Corps Monitoring Alarm Receiving Centre in Glasgow, and visiting all local branch offices of Corps Security on the way.
Looking ahead, we are proudly extending our scope of activities and support for individuals in the armed forces through the Corps Veterans Association providing a supportive community for our veteran workforce as they reintegrate to civvy street.
The Corps Veterans Association is a membership only group, open to serving and retired members of Corps Security/CCML who have served in United Kingdom or Commonwealth Armed Forces, as well as other members of Corps Security who may join as associate members of the CVA. The CVA also offers limited membership for individuals with a close connection or affinity with the Corps of Commissionaires founding aims and values.
Five principal aims comprise the CVA mission statement:
- To foster and support esprit de corps and comradeship for serving and retired members of The Corps of Commissionaires/Corps Security who have served in UK or Commonwealth armed forces.
- To actively promote and support veterans of UK & Commonwealth armed forces.
- To organise and assist with charitable fundraising for military & civilian charities.
- To support Corps Security in acts of remembrance
- To support the Corps Security veteran community facing financial or personal hardship.
In recent months the establishment of the CVA has been solidified by the sending of letters of invitation to join the CVA with priority given to veterans offering them a free full membership. Associate members, who may not have served but are part of the Corps community will also be able to join the CVA.
Mike Bluestone, executive director at Corps Consult, is honorary president of the association with Corps’ divisional director Nigel Horne as chair of the committee. Also on the committee are John Ford, Corps Security’s regional director – South, Scott Hudson, Diz Sollesse as committee secretary, James Henderson, and Tom Scott in the role of standard bearer.
To fly alongside the original Corps of Commissionaires standard created in 1859, Mike Bluestone has sponsored and commissioned a Corps Veterans Association standard which was dedicated earlier this year. The dedication ceremony, held at Corps Security headquarters in Cowcross Street, London was attended by members of the CVA Committee, Mike Bullock Corps Security’s CEO, Air Marshal Chris Nickols, Chairman of Corps Security, President of Trustees, Gen. Sir Robert Fulton, and officiated by former military padre, Reverend Nicholas Pnematicatos.
With the standard and official dedication ceremony completed, and with membership growing, the association is now able to direct efforts to becoming involved with local communities country-wide, including the Royal British Legion, to attend remembrance services at a local level, representing the CVA. This, in turn, will hopefully lead to the introduction of CVA branches across the country.
On Armed Forces Day in particular, we celebrate our own serving reservists, ex-service colleagues, and the wider Armed Forces community for their bravery and dedication to keeping our country safe. We salute you.