Advancing years do have some advantages !

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by Ron Goldstein, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Once a year, in November, I dress myself up warmly, head South and for a few brief hours, meet up with old friends and wartime contemporaries.

    I'm talking, of course, about going to Whitehall for the Remembrance Day ceremonies.

    Yes, I know I've already made a brief report on the events of the 14th, but what I wanted to speak about here was the actual trip to the venue and a few of the things that made the day special.

    The day started with leaving my car at Totteridge tube station, that being a Northern Line station as opposed to Cockfosters which is Picadilly line, and therefore closed for weekly maintenance.

    The time was 07:30 and being a belt and braces man I had deliberately left myself with sufficient time to be able to drive into town if the Northern Line also had problems.

    The weather was not over friendly, it had starting to drizzle, and I was already dressed for the parade, Beret, Regimental tie, Poppy, Medals and all.

    As I waited on the platform for the next train into town I noticed that other travellers nodded at me as if they knew me and, believe it or not, two young ladies even smiled at me :)

    A small group of what I would the previous day have referred to as “yobbos” looked at me with interest and then one of them called across “Have a good day mate!”

    Somehow, by putting on a few medals, I had become a different person.

    Opposite me on an otherwise empty train was a young woman with two boys, ages about seven and nine and she was coaching the youngest from an English story book.

    I could see that the older boy was fascinated by my get-up and was whispering to his mother about whether or not he could speak to me. His mother obviously said it would be OK and he came across to me and started bombarding me with questions.

    He started with “Are you a soldier ?” followed immediately by “what are those badges?” and “what places did you go to?”

    I was amused and touched by his interest and entered into the spirit of the thing.

    “I’m not a soldier, I’m an ex-soldier which means that I once was a soldier but many, many years ago”

    “Those are not badges, they are medals” and I tapped each one in turn and told him what they represented.

    “ I went to North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Austria, Germany and Egypt”

    He dashed back to his mother to share his new data and she smiled and thanked me for taking the time.

    By 08:30 I was at Leicester Square and found a welcome coffee house where I had a rest and a snack before making my way down to Horseguards for the 09:30 muster.

    As the AJEX contingent assembled, one of the chaps, who I did not recognise, came over to me and said “You must be Ron Goldstein”. To which I replied “I’m afraid you have the advantage over me because I don’t think we’ve ever met before”. He tapped his beret and said “look at my cap badge”

    It was a 4th Queen’s Own Hussar badge and you could have knocked me over with a feather.

    I soon transpired that we had “met” on the Letters to the Editor page of a newspaper way back in 2004 when we had discussed the merits or demerits of merging the AJEX parade with the National parade. He had spotted my own cap badge, put two and two together and, thankfully, had made himself known to me.

    Next Sunday is the AJEX parade so watch this space !.

    Attached Files:

  2. Ciar2001

    Ciar2001 Member

    Brilliant story Ron, I would love to pick your brains about the goings on during WW2 it's the one thing i miss about my Grandfather not being around, we used to sit and chat for hours on end, it's still amazing that even though he passed away in 1987 that it feels like yesterday we were chatting.
    amberdog45 likes this.
  3. marcus69x

    marcus69x I love WW2 meah!!!

    Brilliant story Ron.

    A small group of what I would the previous day have referred to as “yobbos” looked at me with interest and then one of them called across “Have a good day mate!”

    Proof that you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover. The bit about the little boy made me smile too. :)

  4. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Great stuff Ron. Love it
  5. RosyRedd

    RosyRedd Senior Member

    Really enjoyed reading that Ron. Thanks :)

  6. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron


    Glad you liked my musing, but something even stranger happened to me just five minutes ago !

    I don't know how computerate you are so I don't know whether you are familiar with a program called Picassa 3 ? . To recap, it's a program that picks up every image you have on your computer and places it into a specified folder for easy retrieval.

    Another clever thing that it does is to scan every photo, looking for a "face" and saving it under a name that you get a chance to confirm. In short, if I go to the program and key in "Ron's dad" it will bring up every image that contains a picture of my father.

    To keep the system up to date, whenever you use it, the first folder it shows is an index of names and where it is not sure if it has recognised a new image it puts a question mark after it.

    Five minutes ago I was looking for a picture when I spotted that after my Dad's folder there was a question mark meaning that it had spotted a picture that it thought was him.

    When I examined it, I realised that it had picked up an old army snap of mine and was asking "is this your Dad ?".

    I've never realised it before but I've just become the re-incarnation of my dear father.

    Blimey !!!!!!


    Attached Files:

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  7. bofors

    bofors Senior Member

    Funny that Ron, who would imagine you would look like him!!
    I am amazed at your computer skills, leaves me for dead!

    Thanks for the great story too, good to read some encouraging stuff. I am gladdened the people took some time to acknowledge you and it seems you have had some effect on the life of that young boy and also his mum.

    well done


  8. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Ron, you are the one of the few arguments I can find in favour of Creationism :)

    (it may not seem so, but this is actually meant to be a compliment!)
  9. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Thanks for the story it is one of those that happens now and then and the little boy was brilliant.

    The software for your photos sounds great you will have to be careful if you start to look too much like your dad it may mix up all your photos so you cannot tell who's who.
  10. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    The times they are a-changing .........

    I hope I will be forgiven for appropriating the title of a well known song but it just seemed so right this time !

    For the first time since 1947 I didn't join in the marching at this year's AJEX Annual Parade & Commemoration Service but opted instead to have a seat reserved at the Cenotaph.

    My daughter and son-in-law provided transport and took this snap after the parade.

    More of the scene tomorrow

    Ron at AJEX pearade 19-11-17.jpg

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  11. kopite

    kopite Member

    You're looking well Ron!
  12. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Looking very smart, Ron. Wouldn't expect anything less though.
  13. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    Ron. You are an amazing gentleman, indeed I would go further and state that you are a Gentlemans gentleman.
  14. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    You're looking good, Ron. If I didn't know your age from your posts, i would never have guessed--honest, not flattery.

    I have a novice-level question for veterans: what's the situation with bowler hats? Obviously there's the comic idiom: to be bowler hatted--to be pushed out on civvy street, but does this apply only to officers? I recall that the last volume of Freddie de Guingand's memoirs use the expression in the title, aptly given Monty's about face on bis promise of future employment.

    I've seen veterans parading in bowler hats before, but I've never consciously noted their ranks of whether they belonged to a particular regiment. Is it, perhaps, a Guards' tradition?
  15. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron


    Bowler hats ?

    I always used to associate the wearing of these with officers only until my late and much missed brother Mick wore one on an AJEX parade, as shown below.

    When dear Mick passed away a few years ago his widow offered his hat to me but I politely declined the offer as I didn't think I fitted into the Bowler Hat Brigade !

    Ron Ron & Mick on AJEX parade.JPG
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  16. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron


    Further thoughts on the subject.........

    Mick was always very dapper and this was confirmed for me when I was given this snap of him as RSM in charge of Gunnery at Poona in India where he was posted to when the Jewish Brigade was dismantled after D-Day.
    Look at his very smart cap !

    Ron Mick at Poona.JPG
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  17. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Great pictures, Ron. Personally, I might have given your brother's bowler a spin.

    For some reason I keep 'bumping into' the same picture of Jackie Smyth VC with his bowler and (epic rack of) medals post-war...

    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  18. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member


    Superb photos and a brilliant piece of highly descriptive writing. As ever, well done!

    I should really bawl out “WELL DONE THAT MAN!”
  19. amberdog45

    amberdog45 Senior Member

    Looking dapper and handsome as ever Ron. Like a good whisky, you look better with age with every updated photo.

    Well impressed with your facial recognition technology.
  20. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    A further thought on posting No.10

    I wonder if anyone spotted that on my right lapel I was wearing the tiny 4th QOH Sweetheart brooch that I bought for my lovely wife so many years ago and that she always used to wear on the AJEX parade.

    I've found a relevant photo, dated (2006) and beg your indulgence if I display it once again.

    Ron The family at Horseguards 2006.JPG
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
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