View Full Version : Lest we forget

06-06-2008, 10:20 PM

Norman Atkinson
06-07-2008, 03:16 AM
A few years ago a lady told me that she was taking her husband back onto the Beaches. He had 'gone in' like so many into that Hell some call D-Day.
She wasn't going to be properly dressed for the occasion.One thing was missing and it was the simple brass 'Other Ranks' cap badge that the Women's Royal Air Force wore and off duty they wore on their shoulder bags.

Well folks, this little lady fighter controller who was part of the battle got her cap badge.

Well, correction, mine!

Cpl.2400915 Atkinson.N
The Goldstars, RAF 31Squadron Association

To 'Lummie' Lord VC and the rest of them- who never came home
'Well done thou good and faithful servants, enter into the joy of thine Lord'

06-07-2008, 09:02 AM
I cant even begin to imagine what must have transpired there that day. I can read books, watch movies and even travel to the site. But the idea of a farm boy from Iowa (this would be the US view) who never left the county he was born in, being plucked out of his environment, traveling by steam train to the coast, some quick training if lucky, jumping on a ship to steam to a land that he may only have heard about (let alone read about or even saw photos of) to then jump on a transport and head to a beach where he knew he may not ever leave alive to fight an army he may not have thought would ever be a threat to him for others who didnt even speak his language. As soon as he jumps off the transport into the water, he sees death everywhere. Hell seems like a mild word here.

What must have been going through his mind! I thank every one of those brave men, including my grandfather, who marched over most of Europe with the military trying to end the threat.

Let us always remember these horrific days, save the knowledge of what happened to cause these events and pass that understanding to our children in the hopes that this educates them so that they may never have to live through the same torment, death and fear.


06-07-2008, 09:14 AM
That must have been a horrible thing to go through.
My mom went out with a guy for a short time in the 60's. A big bugger, really nice guy but he turned out to be an alcoholic.
Poor guy... he'd get drunk and just fall apart. He was in on that, along with almost all his school mates that he grew up with. He was the only one of those kids that made it. All the rest died on that beach. He never got over it.
He died a lonely man with a mind full of nightmares that never stopped.

06-07-2008, 09:15 AM
Amen !

06-07-2008, 09:45 AM
My great Uncle, who just died, was a tank commander in the 2nd Armoured. He would only tell you two stories about that time there. One was about them getting in around the German pillboxes and blowing the doors off with the main gun, and inviting the Germans to surrender. The second was about them rolling into Berlin like they were on a Sunday drive--then came an emergency order to "pull back". They were ordered back about 60 miles. The German reinforcements showed up and built defences into Berlin. It took them two weeks to win back ground they had sped through as fast as their tanks could go. Later, he found out it was done so the Russians could get their piece of Berlin. Not Happy!

06-07-2008, 10:06 AM
i talked to one d-day vet. he was a substitute teacher. well he kids were trying to give him a hard time. he just stood up and with a clear and firm voice said.

i landed on omaha beach chased the germans out of france. so there is nothing you little bastereds can say or do that can even come close to upsetting me.

he got the respect of every one.

06-12-2008, 07:11 PM
Since you guys brought freedom to my country, I remember the date every year.

06-12-2008, 07:34 PM
In the news, today. Not a big story, but a story about a big story and the little things that made life bearable: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article4124354.ece

It's a shame these artifacts didn't have better protection but hell, I guess they're just grafitti in the final analysis.

06-12-2008, 08:00 PM
In the news, today. Not a big story, but a story about a big story and the little things that made life bearable: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article4124354.ece

It's a shame these artifacts didn't have better protection but hell, I guess they're just grafitti in the final analysis.

I read the story, and yes, it's rather sad.

But I got a good laugh from the comments, one reader invited us to Google 'French Military Victories' and hit the I'm feeling lucky' button.

I did. Here's the result:

Did you mean: french military defeats

No standard web pages containing all your search terms were found.

Your search - french military victories - did not match any documents.

Guess there's nothing on the Internet about Napoleon? ;)


06-12-2008, 08:37 PM

Guess there's nothing on the Internet about Napoleon? ;)


- The Napoleonic Wars
- Lost. Temporary victories (remember the First Rule!) due to leadership of a Corsican, who ended up being no match for a British footwear designer.

Errol Groff
06-12-2008, 08:53 PM
My wife and I have visited the D-Day memorial in Bedford VA twice now.


I have nothing but the most profound respect for all who have served their country. Knowing that this in as international forum I include that respect to all veterans, anywhere.

Within 15 mmiles of our home is the U.S. Submarine Memorial in Groton CT.


Again, my thanks and respect to all who served.

Norman Atkinson
06-13-2008, 03:17 AM
Lest we forget????? I 'live' in France or should I say, 'I live part of the time'
and I have to say that my wife and I stood at Vimy Ridge War Memorial on Sunday 3rd September on year at precisely 11AM which was the date and time that Britain, her Empire and France went to war in 1939. Her dad was a RAF 31 Squadron-er like me and we were the only ones!

Vimy marks the sacrifice of our Canadian brothers in the Great War. How can any one be bothered with trees which are probably at the end of their lives make news in comparison to the travesty of forgetting the slaughter? Does any one realise that there is so much live ammunition underground that it is only safe to walk in roped areas? You know your boys died there in as well.

In the past few hours I got a slamming in Practical Machinist. I had been a kid at the beginning of the last war and like every other British kid had taken his or her place to 'do one's bit' in what was total war involving men, women and tiny children. You know I was machine gunned and bombed repeatedly but that experience was repeated in almost every home.the guy could not come to terms with the fact that kids took part in the war effort in hundreds of ways- and then put their uniforms on and hopefully came home and were reservists for decades after.

My only thought was that he regarded himself as a social unequal in when his turn came- he did'nt put on a uniform.

I don't know what is happening over in your part of the Pond but more and more old vets are finally putting up defiant vets badges alongside their old outfit badge.

06-13-2008, 03:40 AM
I don't think anyone cares about the trees - it's the inscriptions that are the point of interest. It is the only part of the forest after all these years that said 'soldiers were here and they left a note to us that we would remember'. The trees were only the messenger and they are killed.

I have an aquaintance who served as navigator on a B-24 called "Racy Tomato". I have a wonderful image of the nose art from that plane. The aircraft was lost in the English Channel and there it remains. I would be offended if it were dredged up to make room for a water front condo.

It is probably no accident that the word 'desecration' is ugly both to the ear and to the senses.

Norman Atkinson
06-13-2008, 04:15 AM
It is a sad fact that trees like us die. It is a sad fact that a B-24 lies in the English Channel. Nothing would please me more than seeing it come up and the remains of both the aircraft and its gallant crew in a more fitting resting place. After all, it could be smashed into oblivion with repeated fishing etc. The English Channel is busy and very shallow.

It is probably 60+ years since it crashed. Probably there is only a few fragments to mark the sacrifice by now. You see, I am 'old mountain rescue' and have dived on wrecks as well. As far as crashes on mountain and moorland were concerned, if the aircraft could not be recovered easily, it was buried. I once wrote of B-17 which crashed on the same day as Glenn Miller was lost. Believe me, I have been 'there' too many times.

I can say in what must be a gloomy reply that one of our Spitfires is still airworthy and that 2 Devons and 2 Antarctic Austers are preserved. Our dear old VP-981 which served as the hack for the BBMF is still around- somewhere.
that old girl and I go back a long way

For my period of service, all I have is one photo and a stolen RAF spoon.

Life is like that


Norman Atkinson
06-13-2008, 04:57 AM
Time to wear another hat? Maybe I will get chucked off this forum as well- so what?
The story is set with a full colonel in his masonic apron addressing a younger audience of officers of the territorial( reserve) forces. I was there as a guest as being the youngest non commissioned officer in the RAF at one time doesn't count!
The old fella was recalling all sorts of things from turning a luger into the head of its holder and the horrors of the living dead of Birkenau and coming out at Dunkirk and a host of other things which was enough to demand rather more port at dinner than my usual modest sip to honour the little lady who was a khaki clad driver mechanic for a while( No medals , Normie- the Tower for you) Alex continued. It was D-Day- he'd left the beaches and as a NCO like me and was now commisioned and was waving the new boys on with his Sten gun aloft. Alex is an immortal! They buried their own dead but the left the Germans on the hot summer ground to rot to feed the rats and birds

Life or death is like that!


06-13-2008, 01:44 PM
It is a sad fact that trees like us die. It is a sad fact that a B-24 lies in the English Channel. Nothing would please me more than seeing it come up and the remains of both the aircraft and its gallant crew in a more fitting resting place. After all, it could be smashed into oblivion with repeated fishing etc. The English Channel is busy and very shallow.

There's a pretty big difference between desecration and natural weathering and decay. One is willful and callous and one is mearly callous. There is a way to preserve the tree as messenger across time. Here in our corner of the world it has been going on a long time:

And sadly again, not all of these are left to the elements to recycle. Desecraters have bucked up many of these for hotel lobbies and yard decorations.

Norman Atkinson
06-13-2008, 02:29 PM
Maybe we are on two different tracks. I know very little about totem poles in Canada. I do, however, know quite a lot about religious symbols in Europe. I agree about that concept of preservation as I have things like taulas and talyots on one doorstep whilst the other has strange things like Bronze Age burial sites, cup and ring markings and even so far as to share a place with Bronze Age skeleton.

So if we are at cross purposes, I apologise


Paul Alciatore
06-13-2008, 02:43 PM
My father was a Marine pilot and died in a training accident in the Pacific. My step dad was an Army pilot (B-24s). Quiet man, but the best. He died last year. I have only the fullest respect and admiration for all who fought and died in THE war.


Norman Atkinson
06-13-2008, 03:00 PM
Agreed Paul!
I'm sitting looking at a photograph of a B-24 now. She came in at RAF Hendon in the almost dark full of kids. It saw the wrong airfield and landed over a railway embankment and pulled up in 800 yards.

It was a great Christmas as all the Greek children on board survived!

A nice story amongst all the awful ones!



David S Newman
06-14-2008, 02:13 PM
I live in a nice little seaside town, Aldeburgh , Suffolk, UK. This part of England was a major base for the US airforce during WW2 in the next town about 3 miles from here called Leiston inscribed on the council offices wall is a list of american airmen who lost their lives flying from there, every time I see it I feel so sad that these YOUNG men never made it back to your shores and will forever be grateful to them for the sacrifices they made.
On a lighter note your Bentwaters airfield which has now closed down is near to me and I made some good friends there flying R/C model aircraft with them on the base, happy days and we all miss those men, such a friendly bunch, and the trunk/boot sale they ran on the base once a year was something else.
Take care your side of the pond. David

06-15-2008, 02:35 AM
Here's a young kid who took part in the Normandy Invasion , he served on an LST, Landing Ship Tank or Large Slow Target for those who were on them. I don't know when this photo was taken, but he was only 16 when he joined in July of '42. D-Day would be his 4th invasion. David, you emphasized YOUNG, every time I see a war documentary, the one thing that comes to mind regardless of what country, they all seem to look alike, YOUNG men, boys really, some not old enough to shave, of course I some times forget that I was wet behind the ears 19 year old when I arrived in Vietnam.


Norman Atkinson
06-15-2008, 03:41 AM
I was standing with the older men of the Squadron who had been brought to Oosterbeck Cemetery in Holland by the new boys who were Tornado bomber crews who had served in the Gulf War1 etc. The old men had served in the Burmese jungle dropping supplies to a beleagured and forgotten 14th Army.
My mate and myself were somewhere in between. We had sort of seen the last of the Spitfires as such but they had fought out classed in a later Korea.
On that windswept Sunday morning, the long lines of white crosses seem to stretch forever. We stopped at a grave which had a posy of spring flowers recently left. The grave was of Flying Officer 'Lummie' Lord, Victoria Cross who had flown a blazing DC3 into Arnhem in what we called 'Operation Market Garden' but a younger generation call' A Bridge Too Far'. Lummie had served with us and had survived not only Burma but an earlier Western Desert Campaign. His luck had finally run out but he was still only a boy.
The flowers had come from an old lady but had been far younger than Lummie, she had been a Dutch schoolgirl when the parachutes and gliders had fallen around her.She was the real hero, lien was unable to escape because she had to remain in Occupied Holland after the few soldiers were rounded up and sent to prison camps or swam the river to freedom.. She had tended our wounded and continually risked death.

Lien now is an old lady with dementure but she still remembers those who wear the little gold star that we wear.

War was not only for those in uniform.

06-15-2008, 03:48 AM
OK - so much for the "one's who never came back".

I am as sympathetic as any in that regard.

What of those who did "make it back" - including those maimed of mind and body. Some came back and because of the traumas they were under either lost parts of bodies or parts or all of their minds.

Many survived only to destroy themselves and/or their families etc. and the effects are still being felt and are manifest years, decades and generations later.

Many came back only to almost "disappear" as they either don't want to "talk about it" or they have to confront or try to escape their "demons" and "memories".

What of the Veterans? What has been done for them?

I see no sign or mention of them. Where are they? What are they? Are they "invisible"? And why are their sacrifices any less regarded? What do they think of all this? Has anyone asked them? If it is any less, why is it and why are they so neglected?

Why don't they get equal acknowledgment and "Welcome Home" parades etc?

Are people ashamed of the "Returned" personnel whether fit or maimed?

Why are graves and body bags and coffins held in such awe and so well covered by the media and "photo-opportunities" for "celebs", politicians and the like?

And last and by no means least - what of the "Emergency Services" who have similar levels of trauma in our communities every day of the year?

Norman Atkinson
06-15-2008, 04:05 AM
OT- not guilty as charged!
In my earlier story, 'Lien' is one of us. We pay two pensions out of a small fund to two Ghurka soldiers- who represent those who defended our perimeters.
My mate mentioned above got his War Pension but it took 49 years to get.
The ginger headed boy who used to strap me in the old kite and keep her running was not forgotten.

( I deleted the other stuff- it sounded like me bull****ting)

In another posting- not here, I have a 'boy'. I am meeting him tomorrow evening. He's a 'Redcap' and was recommended for getting his wounded out in Afghanistan somewhere. He's been offered his commission- and he is going to get killed. One begins to believe in immortality- and we have both seen lots like him. He could make a greater contribution to this world. We are sort of 'schooling' him for a future. I can see a younger boy in his face. You know what I mean?

Cheers mate


06-06-2009, 01:46 AM
A few minutes silence for those souls who passed that way.

06-06-2009, 06:16 AM
And they seemed to forget to invite the one person that was actively serving in the armed forces before the "Figureheads" of the rememberance services had escaped a condom.

Regards Ian.

06-06-2009, 06:28 AM
Thank you all for this sad thread, but we will remember them

06-06-2009, 04:14 PM

David S Newman
06-06-2009, 04:43 PM
I thank you all in the USA for the help you gave us in those troubled times , I was only a boy then but remember such friendly US servicemen here with esteem. Many that never returned to your country. David

06-06-2009, 06:30 PM
See http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/categories/ for a fascinating collection of first-person accounts of WW II experiences.

tony ennis
06-06-2009, 06:56 PM
I see two easy solutions to the 'tree' issue.

1. Buy the trees from the French land owner, or
2. Make castings of the inscriptions in situ.

Peter N
06-06-2009, 07:03 PM
A very poignant day for me.

My Father was there. He served in the 2nd Battalion R.U.R. and fought there on D-Day. He also served with the British Expeditionary Force and fought back through Dunkirk.
In an odd twist of fate he died on 6th June 28 years ago, which is also my brothers birthday. Quis Seperabit?


Liger Zero
06-06-2009, 07:51 PM
D-Day... Didn't Midway also happen around this time back in '42 or am I not remembering my dates?

I did a short report on D-Day in High School. While an important battle, I was more into the naval operations aspect of history, not the landings and stuff.

Fellow down the road from me worked on a fleet repair ship during WW2. Body is failing him but his mind is still sharp. I stop to talk with him he likes to talk steam engines. :) What I've seen in books he's actually been inside of and worked with.

06-06-2009, 09:07 PM
I have never personalty met any one that was in the D- Day landing. But along the same note My Dad was at every major battle in the Pacific in the Navy. The only time I ever saw him cry was watching the movie Mid Way he cried like a baby and shook like he was having a seizure are something. So I know grown men can be scared to death.He was 35 when he was drafted in WWII.

06-07-2009, 12:15 PM
This war was fought so the West could be free.

A piece of remembrance- For the world and not the country

06-07-2009, 07:23 PM
My Uncle Bob was shot in the leg as soon as he left the landing craft on D day, my uncle Adrian died from flack wounds he received in the skys over Germany, my uncle Palmer took a photo out the window of his B17 of his friends B17 and did not know until he had the film developed if he got a photo of a plane or an explosion , my uncle Gerry was killed trying to take the city of Bagao in the Philippines, and my Father was bayoneted in the hand trying to take Bagao and still has the gold tooth from the Japaneses fellow that baynoneted him in his dresser drawer.

All except my day are gone now. Gary P. Hansen