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Author Topic: 75th Anniversary Of D-Day.  (Read 2665 times)
martyjon
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« on: June 06, 2019, 09:52:03 pm »

As dusk will shortly begin to fall on this day I thought I would recount to you my memory of D-Day itself or was it a day or two before or after the day itself, you judge.

I was an infant aged 19 months and 3 weeks old on June 6th 1944. I was in the garden of the house where we lived on Southmead Road in Bristol playing with my playmate from next door. We heard aeroplanes overhead and looked up to see wave after wave of aeroplanes going overhead. There were big ones. small ones and ones in between which with with my knowledge today could have been Shackletons and Lancasters, Spitfires and Hurricanes and Blenheims and Beaufighters with a large sprinklins of American kit in the mix.

50 years later when there were activities to remember the 50th anniversary of D-Day I was a member of an organising committee organising a firework display at my Local Community Centre and Social Club. I was talking to my mother about this event and I mentioned my memory of the above and said to her "I suppose that was all part of D-Day".

For a few seconds she was speechless, and then asked me what more i remembered of my infancy.

I told of the times they used to stand me on the front garden wall of the Southmead Road house watching for Grandad (mums father) to emerge from Monks Park Avenue onto Southmead Road on his motorbike to visit us on a Saturday afternoon.

"What else", she said, "well", I replied, "do you remember the day I said daddy was a soldier and you said he wasn't and I said HE WAS and stomped off and got the family photograph album out of the cupboard, brought it back to you and opened it to the page with the photograph of you holding me as a baby. Dad was stood alongside you in his soldiers uniform". She remembered, and I remember her response was that the uniform was like a soldiers but it was the uniform of a home guardsman and she explained in words understandable to a 2 - 3 year old that a soldier fights nasty people in the nasty peoples country but a Home Guardsman guards people in the country where there home is in case nasty people come into the country without an invitation. (I knew what invitation meant then as I was always being invited to children's parties despite there being food rationing in force at times during the wartime period).

I'll finish this post now but when I got time I'll recount to you how I came into being and I can tell you the story has been described by people I have narrated it to as being interesting.
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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2019, 09:57:26 pm »

Thank you for sharing.  Merits much more than just a "like".  Look forward to seeing more at a future date.
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johnneyw
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« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2019, 11:01:14 pm »

Martyjon, your recollection of the air full of planes tied in with my dad's stories to me of the time when on D-Day as a teenager, he knew something was going on as the skys above Nottingham were full of aircraft.
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2019, 07:20:08 am »

I thought the BBC coverage of the Portsmouth event and the event on Gold beach yesterday morning, where the Normandy sculpture was on display was outstanding.
All the acts of commemoration were done with great respect, and the parts played by the world leaders could not be faulted as they each struck exactly the right words and the right tone. I was particularly moved by President Macron who told the story of 16 year old Henri Felet in his last letter home to his parents in his final moments of life before he was taken out and shot as a collaborator. Even President Trump reined in his natural bombast, and made a telling contribution.
But, of course it was all about the veterans. Who could not fail to be moved by their crystal clear accounts of what happened on that day ? The interviewers let each one talk,never once interrupting the flow and giving each one the time and the space to tell their story. The meticulous  planning of these two events meant that they went without a hitch. The camera work was exemplary, smooth and reverent in long shot and close up, without all those irritating effects that blight so many programmes today, and the sound was crystal clear in what must have been varied and challenging conditions. As someone who was born 10 years and one day after D-day (work that one out!) I will remember the coverage of those two events for the rest of my life. Truly, they gave their tomorrows, for the freedoms we all have today.
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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2019, 09:30:16 am »

Many Happy Returns of the day Chuffed.
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martyjon
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« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2019, 09:06:20 am »

I started this thread and I will continue the thread with the following on my father.

My dad was one of three boys, his two brother were non-identical twins. When the country's leaders appealed to the population to enlist to sort out a little problem the nation was having with a guy called Hitler and the nation he lead, my dad, his brothers and father all volunteered. His father, my grandad G, was rejected because he was in a reserved occupation, he was employed in the coal mining industry. His two brothers were rejected, they worked in a large manufacturing and construction workshop called LNER Doncaster Railway Works. This left my dad who was a toolmaker and precision engineer. He had a shock. He was given a rail warrant to travel to Bristol and report to the Bristol Aeroplane Company at Filton, Bristol.

Now dad had never travelled further north than York or south of Sheffield so to travel to Bristol was a real adventure, and he didn't have 4 friends and a dog to accompany him, he was a lonely lad from Doncaster.

He told me that the journey took him nearly all day, leaving his home in Doncaster in the dark and arriving in Bristol in the dark.

On the day of his leaving home he was up early to say goodbye to his father and to say see you again sometime. Then a tearful goodbye to his mother. On exiting their front door the three boys were astounded that many of the neighbours had come out onto the street to wish him all the best. Even at the trolleybus stop, passengers getting off the trolleybus were hugging him and wishing him well while his brothers placed his case in the luggage space under the stairs on the trolleybus.

Doncaster to Sheffield, Sheffield to Derby, Derby to Birmingham, half way across Birmingham to change stations according to him, and finally to Bristol where he and others were met by a ' reception committee ' of two ladies from the Salvation Army who had lists of people who could take in ' immigrants '. He was given an address in Elm Park, Filton.

A single decker bus was parked outside Temple Meads on which he sat for a couple of hours in the dark while other 'immigrants ' cleared the Salvation Army before they were given the 'nod' that they would shortly be away so if they wanted the 'loo' to go now.

Being dropped on the A38 opposite Elm Park he walked up to the address he was given and was given such a warm welcome by the couple that he remained in touch with them for as long as they lived and I met them too on many occasions.

His first thoughts when he had dropped his case 'in his room' was food as he hadn't anything to eat since breakfast so his thoughts were 'is there a Fish and Chip nearby' but the lady of the house insisted on cooking a meal for him 'while you have a swill and freshen up'.

The next day it was to Filton House, then a walk north along the A38 to the Patchway Works to where he was to work for the rest of his life until his untimely death due to cardiac arrest at the age of 51.

As a spoiler, dad next saw his family after the war ended, he was a married man with a child, me.
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infoman
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« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2019, 05:22:34 pm »

You must have been living not very far away from Dave Prowse?
Having said that the 1962  film "Some People" is being shown next Friday 12th July at 10:35 in the morning.
Filmed in and around Bristol including Filton.
An interview with Anneke Wills(polly from Doctor Who) is being shown 09:40am in the morning.
There is no repeat,so make sure you record the programmes.
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« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2019, 05:36:56 pm »

These programs will be broadcasted on Talking Pictures TV freeview channel 81.
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martyjon
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« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2019, 11:28:36 pm »

On a most poignant day for our nation I thought I would add this post to the thread to complement my previous post which was about my father.

My mother was the middle of three girls. When the nations leaders appealed to the populace to enlist to fight off the foe for King and Country, mothers elder sister had already left home and was resident in the Birmingham area with a relative cos she already had a chap in that area.

Mums father was a crane driver at the Royal Edward Dock, Avonmouth which exempted him as he was in a reserved occupation, an occupation which he remained associated with until his retirement progressing through the grades via senior crane driver, crane diver trainer and completing his working life as Chief Crane Superintendent, Royal Edward Dock.

That left just mum and her younger sister to trudge to a venue to sign up for which they chose the WRENS, spelt WRNS, Womens Royal Naval Service. Mums younger sister was accepted as she was employed at the Bristol Co-operatives Castle Street Departmental store as a shop assistant.

Mum was employed at a Bristol printing firm, Mardon Son and Hall which were the printers of cigarette packets and the cards that went into the packets. Her job was that of a 'Print Proof Inspector' and it was this last word that resulted her being referred to a higher authority at the recruitment center where she was interrogated into the scope of her job. This interrogation led to her being sent to the Patchway factories of the Bristol Aeroplane Company for an assessment into her suitability as a inspector of engine components. She passed the assessment and was seconded to work at the plane makers engine factory at Patchway.

Now mum escaped three close calls of the hands of the LUFTWAFFE.

The first of these was when an air raid was taking place and she was on a tram going home from Mardons. As the tram proceeded along Old Market Street the tram in front of the one she was on sustained a direct hit from a German bomb.

The second of these close calls was after she had commenced working at Patchway. She was travelling on a bus going home after a days work when German aircraft in formation were progressing up the Severn Estuary after pounding Plymouth and Exeter and were heading towards the Midlands to unleash the last of their armaments on Coventry when two of two engined fighter escorts broke off and unleashed a volley of cannon shells on the buses proceeding up Filton Hill. Miraculously the shells hit the road surface on either side of the buses, mum reckoned that if the buses had been further up the hill where the road bends to the left the shells would have ripped right through the buses with many casualties.

The third close call ........ well I'll leave that tale to tell in 24 hours.
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martyjon
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« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2019, 11:37:09 pm »

Continuing on this thread on this 100th anniversary day of the Armistice the third close call ........

It was a late November night in 1940 and both my future parents were both working the night shift at the Patchway engine factory of the Bristol Aeroplane Company making their contribution to the war effort when the air raid sirens went off. Everyone downed tools and headed to the shelters.

My future father was alright cos his nominated shelter was just outside his workplace entrance but my future mothers was right at the top of the site next to the A38 and she and her fellow female workers workplace was no 4 shop, as far away from their nominated shelter that you could have. On this night despite their haste these girls were caught in a maelstrome of exploding incendaries to light up the area for the heavy bombs as the foe decided to deliver an early Christmas to that part of the Bristol area and it wasn;t by means of raindeers and a sleigh.

Fortunately these females stopped in their tracks and cowered down against the wall of the workshop and the men, including dad, in the shelter grabbed blankets and used the blankets as shields over their heads and got the girls into their shelter out of harms way.

When the 'all clear' was sounded a roll call of the shelter was made by the shelter warden and these girls were 'surplus' and there was nothing in 'procedures' to handle 'strangers'. Dad was a deputy shelter warden and he took it upon himself to collect these girls names and with the approval of the shelter warden went to the female shelter to report them safe and get instructions.

He was met at the female shelter with a lot of wailing and floods of tears cos the women in that shelter thought they had lost a number of their colleagues as there was some bomb damage to buildings and when dad returned to his own shelter he told the women to return to their workplaces.

A few days after this mums bus was late arriving at the bus park and dad passed her on the way to his bus. Mum told me that she used to walk slowly past dads workshop entrance and raise a hand to acknowledge him when she saw him waiting for the site hooter to sound and sometimes they would even walk to the bus park together and in doing so mum got to know something of this lad from Doncaster's background.

Mum went on to tell her parents about the Doncaster lad and was surprised when her father responded to her one day by saying to her that he, her father, wanted to meet this fellow who saved his daughters life, tell him to come to lunch on Sunday. Dad also found himself in her fathers good books that Sunday by getting her fathers motorbike going after it had been out of action for a month or so, minor problem there, points needed adjusting.

From that meeting an invite was issued for dad to have Christmas lunch there too and this led onto dating, courting engagement and marriage which produced a younger brother and then a sister for me. We had a good family life together until tragedy struck on F.A. Cup Final Day in 1967 at the age of 51 dad had a fatal heart attack and passed away at the families static caravan sited on a holiday camp site at Weymouth.

One day I shall have to put down on paper details of some of our adventures as a family we had and me as an individual and, if I ever get round to it, to scan photos of my four backpacks round the world and set a quiz on this forum, 'WHERE IN THE WORLD'.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 07:37:34 pm by martyjon » Logged
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