Silence fell as thousands stood at the Cenotaph in Whitehall on Tuesday, the 11th hour of the 11th day.

We all wore our poppies with pride, remembering those brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

This year marks a special anniversary with it being a 100 years since the 'War to end all Wars' began. Tragically, many more were to die in the world war that followed but 21 years later, more in the Second World War than in all wars in human history combined.

I have seen first-hand the rows and rows of graves all across north-west Europe where 80 per cent of our war dead are buried. Each one with their own story to tell.

It was in 1938 that the great Ernie Bevan brought the Empire War Graves Commission, now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, into the old Transport & General Workers Union.

During my time as an officer at the T&G, I was responsible for the gardeners working for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

The visits I made to the cemeteries truly brought home to me the sheer scale and tragedy of both World Wars. Row after row of headstones of young soldiers, too often Unknown or aged but 18, 19, 20 or 21.

Each one a personal tragedy, each one mourned by their family. Seeing the graves also brought home how this was a truly world war.

Those who travelled from the Empire, now the Commonwealth, to a foreign continent to fight in completely alien conditions should never be forgotten.

In Ypres in Belgium at the Menin Gate, I saw for the first time the name Singh carved into stone, thousands of Singhs. Indeed, those from India gave so much that they have their own cemetery at Neuve-Chapelle in France.

William George Dromey was killed during the First World War. He is commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial in France.

During the Second World War, my father, who had come from County Cork in Ireland to dig roads, joined the British Army to fight the evil of fascism.

Fortunately for me, he returned home but millions were not as lucky as my dad. The impact on our city of the two world wars was huge.

Thousands from Birmingham died in combat during the First World War. The Royal Warwickshire Regiment alone lost over 11,000 during the war.

When Britain found itself at war with Germany once again, the impact on Birmingham of the Second World War was even greater.

On the home front, over 2,000 Brummies were killed by German bombing. They too should be remembered. The legend 'lest we forget' should be for all those that gave their lives for the war effort at home and abroad.

There are memorials to those who died throughout Birmingham. In Erdington, the Hollyfields Centre has a memorial to the 200 Birmingham Gas workers who gave their lives.

The Royal Mail sorting office in Ladywood also has a memorial to the posties who fell in battle.

Birmingham's contribution to the war effort stretched far beyond those who fought for our country. We should also remember the hundreds of thousands of munitions workers, working night and day to support the war effort.

These often unsung heroes go unheralded and our city has so many of them.

The Birmingham Small Arms Company, the old BSA, manufactured weapons for decades for both world wars.

Birmingham was also home to the production of the Spitfire, the fighter plane that so famously fought off the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain.

One of the main Spitfire factories was situated in Castle Bromwich and Birmingham was also home to the factory that produced the aluminium blades for the Spitfire.

The Spitfire was not the only plane that Birmingham had a hand in building.

Our city produced the gear boxes for planes including the Lancaster Bomber. The iconic sight and sound of the Lancaster truly has its roots in our great city.

Even Cadbury played a role in both wars. During the First World War, it continued to produce chocolate to send to the troops on the front line.

Not only this but I remember one constituent recounting a story of how Cadbury had produced small pieces of chocolate to go in the life rafts of the navy and air force to provide sustenance to those struggling to survive.

First World War Birmingham also saw the first municipal bank in Britain, still there, on Broad Street, to this day.

Birmingham workers were encouraged to open bank accounts and the bank in turn invested heavily in the munitions factories. A century on, we are now talking once again of regional banks to invest in our West Midlands economy. Once again, Birmingham, the city of Chamberlain, was a pioneer.

The effect of the two world wars on the UK and on Birmingham is almost immeasurable, including changes for the good. The First World War saw women enter the world of work as part of the war effort on a grand scale. Shortly after, women won the vote, many argue down in part to the efforts of millions of women during the war.

The end of the Second World War saw the creation of the National Health Service, the welfare state and the building of 'homes fit for heroes'. Never again, was the determination. No return to the depression of the 1930s.

Never again too a world war created in Europe and ravaging our continent. Wars there have been, in old Yugoslavia for example.

But Europe as a continent has seen the longest period of peace in centuries.

For all the problems, a more united Europe does not want our young people ever again to be sacrificed on a grand scale.

A third world war would be unthinkable.

Jack Dromey is MP for Birmingham Erdington