Veterans are calling for the first Mayor of Greater Manchester to provide better support for the Armed Forces community across the city region.
Around half-a-million people in the north west have served in the forces and as many as one in seven could be suffering mental health issues.
One former soldier has been sharing his experiences with ITV Granada correspondent Ashley Derricott.
A former Royal Marine Commando from Merseyside was among the first to take part in a vigil marking the start of the Royal British Legion's annual fundraising campaign.
Pete Dunning from Wallasey, who lost both his legs when he was struck by a bomb in Afghanistan, was joined in his vigil, at the Cenotaph in central London, by pop star Joss Stone.
The watch was inspired by images of the repatriation of the Unknown Soldier in 1920, when guards kept a vigil at the coffin as a mark of respect.
The Royal British Legion is opening a 'pop in' shop in Manchester.
It will form part of a network of call in centres across the UK.
The Legion hopes that the shops will help make their services more accessible.
Former Royal Marine Pete Dunning from Wirral says why he is supporting this year's Poppy Appeal by the Royal British Legion.
A former solider from Wallasey who lost both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan says the Royal British Legion were crucial in helping his recovery.
He now has artificial legs and has had his house specially adapted.
The family of a marine who was killed on the front line will launch this year's poppy appeal in Buxton.
Marine Scott Taylor was died in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2010.
His brother, who is a serving marine is due to attend.
This year's Greater Manchester Poppy Appeal will launch in the city later.
Territorial Army soldiers who have recently returned from Afghanistan will take part in an event at the Manchester's University Barracks.
Members of the University Naval, Army and Air Force Officer Training Units will also be in the guard of honour.
The Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Warren J Smith said: "These University Officer Cadets, TA members and the players are the same age as our troops in Afghanistan and it is heart-warming to see them supporting the lads and girls overseas.
"They are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our brave forces."
This year the Royal British Legion says it needs to raise £42m nationwide. It spends £200,000 a day on its welfare work.
Kevin McGuire, the Community Fundraiser for Greater Manchester, added: "The welfare needs of our troops has never been greater.
"Please buy and wear a Poppy to show your support and stand shoulder to shoulder with our armed forces."
The Greater Manchester Poppy Appeal launch will take place at 10.45am at University Barracks, on Boundary Lane.