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Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Seventy-four years on: D-Day

Seventy-four years ago, Allied forces landed in Normandy, and the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi rule was set in motion.

I was born six years after the landings took place, and I grew up surrounded by people who took part. Most of the veterans are now in their nineties, and each anniversary fewer and fewer of them remain alive.

Next year will see the seventy-fifth anniversary, and one hopes that the present-day governments of the Allied nations will stage commemorative events.

6 comments:

  1. Probably the last time Britain ever achieved parity with the US.

    Yes, next year will be one to celebrate, as there will still be a few veterans left. I was lucky enough to know a Royal Engineers veteran who was one of the beach clearance teams landed on D-day - he didn't talk much about what he did, but over a beer his stories were fascinating and horrific in equal measure.

    Cheers, Andy

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    1. Andrew Canham (Andy),

      In many ways it does mark a high point for the UK, and it is good to remember the huge Allied effort that went into mounting the D-Day landings.

      If you get a chance, try to record your Royal Engineer's recollections of events, and not just what happened on D-Day. The stories told by the veterans need to be saved for posterity, and unless someone does it soon, they will be lost forever.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Bob,

    What an excellent suggestion.

    Andy,

    Your local history museum should be able to provide assistance should you follow Bob's sage advice. These days many museums and archives have oral history specialists who know how to best interview veterans and other elderly people.

    Cheers
    Anthony

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    1. Anthony Morton,

      My brother and I have sound recordings and written memories of our father before he developed dementia, and I hope to transcribe them one day into a book.

      (He was a member of 6th Airborne Division, and took part in the Battle of the Bulge, Operation Varsity, the Drive across Germany, and the confrontation with the Russians in Wismar. He was then sent to Burma to help train the new Burmese Army, and was involved in fighting against the Communist guerrillas as well as the aftermath of the assassination of Aung San and the subsequent coup d'etat.)

      It is vitally important that such memories are not lost to posterity.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. Bob,
    It is now a time when one generation is now nearly all past- very sad. Regards. KEV.

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    1. Kev Robertson,

      Very true. When I was a child I was taught by men who had fought during the First World War. That generation is now long gone, and the Second World War generation will be following them in the next few years.

      It is at this sort of time that we should always worth remember James Maxwell Edmund's famous words:
      When you go Home, tell them of us and say,
      For your Tomorrow, we gave our Today.


      All the best,

      Bob

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