WHEN I said that in the First World War Germany had no intention of invading Britain, which Mr Shambley challenges, I was relying on General Smith Dorien, who is quoted in Martin Gilbert: First World War, speaking about public opinion in Britain.

Smith Dorien said: "Their minds seemed set on what seemed to me a ridiculous fear of an invasion of England".

And Gilbert doesn't criticise Smith Dorien for saying this. In a war, people are told all sorts of lies ­— Smith Dorien did not see that the British public had been encouraged to nurse this "ridiculous fear" to make them more enthusiastic for the war.

It looks from Mr Shambley's memories as if the Germans were manipulating their public opinion, too.

The point is that a military man like Smith Dorien knew that if Germany was going to invade England there would be military signs of such an intention and there weren't.

I have worked for peace all my life and have been opposed to nuclear weapons ever since I heard the news of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

In the days of Conscription, I was al absolutist ­— I would not spend two years in civil work as an alternative ­— and was given a six months sentence, of which I spent the usual four.

I am a strict pacifist and would not kill another human being or be forced to join an organisation in which one is trained to kill other human beings.

I consider that my position is a perfectly intelligible one and that I should not be subjected to unthinking hostility because I hold it.

The founder of the Christian church was a pacifist and the doctrine of the Just War was never preached by him, while the early church was pacifist, too.

The trouble with Remembrance Sunday as it is constituted is that in practice it is about the British dead and mourning is inextricably mixed with a celebration of their part in the war in which they died.

Fortunately, this year this is mitigated by the participation of Germany and a celebration of the good relations which now exist between the two former enemies.

The white poppy wreath is laid in memory of all those who suffered and died in all wars everywhere in historical time and is a symbol of a commitment to work for peace.

We do live in a military culture and Remembrance Day, as it is constituted, does contribute to it.

Britain always seems to be at war somewhere. It insists on spending huge sums on Trident, its own weapon of mass destruction.

Nor will Britain sign and ratify the draft treaty drawn up the UN General Assembly banning nuclear weapons.

And even in the recent budget the military were given more money (£1 billion) than the social services.

Malcolm Pittock

St James Avenue