Arromanches +65 - A National Disgrace

Discussion in 'All Anniversaries' started by Paul Reed, Jun 7, 2009.

  1. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    I couldn't get on to post this last night, so put it up on GWF. The morning after I feel the same, if not more cross. Will post some photos when I am back.
    ------

    Today I saw what I can only describe as a national disgrace. Possibly as many as 800 Normandy veterans were in attendance at Arromanches. Initially it was baking hot - there was no prevision of water, no cover, and no food tents made available; all the cafes were full even four hours in advance of ceremonies. There was no-one to welcome the veterans, no-one to ensure they had seating, and those of us who ensured they had some seating were suddenly told the whole square would have to be cleared - at point where 99% of said tired, thirsty, hungry vets were finally having a rest. It didn't happen, and the whole thing turned into a farce when the "ceremony" seem to stumble and fall. Eventually a veterans parade took place, but it was badly organised, and by the time the veterans marched back into the square all their seating had been removed. They had to stand in the pouring rain - as the weather had changed - for 45 minutes listening to speech after speech. By the end they were soaked to the skin, freezing cold. No-where in the square were there any medics, all the British military there had not been briefed by the French so had no point of contact or knowledge of where things were. I know this as I personally had to assist a number of people were verging on going into shock as they were so cold and wet. I have never seen anything like it, and I feel ashamed, sad and angry that our vets have been treated like this. Traffic control at the end of the ceremony was equally chaotic, and it took our coach nearly 90 minutes to reach us, as was the case with most. It was still pouring, and there was no cover for the vets. Thanks to a well known broadcaster my vets got cover in a television hospitality tent where the production staff ensured they were fed and given coffee. Most were left to stand in the rain even longer waiting for coaches to come.

    I am sure I haven't given justice to just how bad this was, and as I said at the beginning this is a national disgrace as there is so much our government could have done to ensure this happened properly.

    Equally galling (excuse the pun) was the attitude of the French police all day who did their best to prevent veterans accessing the ceremonies by changing arrangements that had been in place for months, and not understanding or accepting that men in their mid-80s to early 90s cannot walk miles from a drop off point.
     
  2. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Paul

    Many thanks for your timely and very well written piece.

    I, as you know, was not a D-Day man and therefore watched the parade on TV purely out of general WW2 interest and, I confess, hoping to see a friend who was there.

    It was immediately noticeable that the weather had changed for the worse and that no provision had been made to offer shelter or sustenance for the vets in the square at Arromanche.

    It looked an utter shambles.

    I made comment to my wife "I'm glad I'm not there today" and I was waiting to hear from my friend (who returns on Monday) how he had fared when I read your article.

    You are to be commended both for your concern and your comments and I look forward to seeing your snaps.

    Best regards

    Ron
     
  3. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek

    Disgusting. No wonder you're so angry and upset, Paul. No one should be treated in such a manner, let alone the vets.


    On another note it was nice to hear Mr Brown get a warm reception.
     
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Only saw a bit of it on TV as I was at a mate's party.
    It looked a mess on TV.

    I can feel your rage Paul.
     
  5. Philip Reinders

    Philip Reinders Very Senior Member

    I noticed the ceremony on TV, and what p....d me off is that the ceremony was for the Vets this idiot of french president still did his speech in French , why!!

    And now pauls story, as every the same with the big ceremony's at Arnhem every 5 years, the brass and bobo's go on top, but no concern about the men who did the job.

    Funny thing was when they interview a reenactor why he was dressed up as a US para, answer to Honour the veterans, comment of reported: would this not be the same when dressed in civies?, answer: hmmmmm.
     
  6. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Paul,

    I can well understand your anger at the fiasco. What with Browns "Obama" Beach gaff, this is just another piece of the utter shambles this huge event has been.

    I am truly sorry at the way the Veterans have been treated and it will come as no surprise if several become ill as a result.

    This was the last Big Day Celebration that the majority will be able to attend.
    I do not think that it was too much to organise it better for the Veterans, after all it is for the Veterans that the celebrations are planned.

    Perhaps I am missing the point and it is now only a Political gathering of heads of state.

    The veterans deserved better treatment and I for one am glad that Paul managed to get some of them shelter and drinks.

    All I can say is shame on the organizers.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  7. burlington

    burlington Member

    The BBC cameras seemed fascinated by the veteran in a white beret yesterday. What does the white beret signify please?

    Also, there was a veteran in a black peaked cap, looked a bit like a tugboat captain or similar, if you see what I mean. Again, I wonder what that signified.

    Just wondering.

    Martin
     
  8. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Paul, when you refer to a 'national disgrace', which nation do you mean ? One of the charms of France is that so much depends upon the local mayor but of course if he's not motivated then not much gets done.

    Sadly the whole thing seems like a circus to me but then I prefer to be alone with my thoughts at these sort of memorials. Who invented crowds anyway ?
     
  9. dovermarine

    dovermarine Senior Member

    The BBC cameras seemed fascinated by the veteran in a white beret yesterday. What does the white beret signify please?

    Also, there was a veteran in a black peaked cap, looked a bit like a tugboat captain or similar, if you see what I mean. Again, I wonder what that signified.

    Just wondering.

    Martin
    Hi Martin, I believe the white beret is for Russian convoys (Artic), issued to British seamen who took part in these, Derek.
     
  10. burlington

    burlington Member

    Thanks Derek. Very distinctive I thought.

    Martin
     
  11. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

  12. arkrite

    arkrite Senior Member

    65 years ago we organised the landing of 160,000 troops and everything that went it. What is so difficult in providing care and provision for 800 elderly people for a couple of days? Thank you Paul for bringing this to our attention. To say I feel ashamed in the way these Veterans were treated is putting it mildly. My vision became redder and redder the more I read.
    Shocking!!!.

    Hope you dont mind but I did post about this on the WorldWar2Forum. I think it deserves wider acknowledgement.
     
  13. raider

    raider Temporarily Suspended account.

    Hi i lisened to the ceramony on tele. not being able to see. And reading the comments today on here ,i am discusted at the way these men and woman have been treated i heard it was raining so assumed they would be under cover , The organisers do not care anymore have they no compassion for these people They say there are heros why can they not be treated as sutch .
    Can a nasty letter be sent to the veteran,s minister a complaning about the treatment of these people ...

    raider .... for our today they gave there tomorrow ...
     
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I noticed the Head of the NVA made a comment about it during the speeches.

    Cheers for bringing it up Paul....It doesn't surprise me though.

    Regards
    Andy
     
  15. RJL

    RJL Senior Member

    I couldn't get on to post this last night, so put it up on GWF. The morning after I feel the same, if not more cross. Will post some photos when I am back.

    Terrible treatment of our veterans Paul.
     
  16. RJL

    RJL Senior Member

    I noticed the ceremony on TV, and what p....d me off is that the ceremony was for the Vets this idiot of french president still did his speech in French , why!! .

    Really? Did he make two speeches? I only saw him make one speech and it was in English.
     
  17. soren1941

    soren1941 Living in Ypres

    disgusting news.
     
  18. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Burlington -
    Over here in Canada - the White Beret signify's the Merchant Navy in total - not only the Russian Convoys - but their service in all theatres - it took Canada a very long time - until recently to honour these men....

    Cheers
     
  19. piaf

    piaf Member

    Paul, Although I have never personally attended the ceremony at Arromanches I have watched it on the T.V. and always thought it seemed a fiasco.
    I remember one year seeing the Veterans assembled on the beach with the oncoming tide lapping at their feet, whilst waiting for the Queen to appear.
    Yesterday I attended a ceremony at Creully as I do every year to honour the memory of my cousin who was killed on June 28th 1944 aged just twenty years.
    We had no problems in getting from our home near Carentan to Creully even though the N13 was closed, the only hold up was at Bayeux where the coaches taking the Veterans to the ceremony were given priority which is as it should be.
    Phillip, The French Prime minister delivered his speech in English at Arromanches ,it was President Sarkozy who gave his speech in French at Omaha.
    It is known that Nicolas Sarkozy does not speak English , but by the same token would you exepct Gordon Brown to deliver a speech in French ?
    I noticed both President Obama and Gordon Brown wearing earphones during President Sarkozy's speech,however Prince Charles was not and he could be seen conversing with Sarkozy afterwards .
    As I live nearer to the American landing beaches than the British , I can only conclude with my own feelings that the Americans look after their veterans with more respect than us Britsh?
    Regards
    Piaf
    (daughter of a 'D Day 'dodger)
     
  20. cash_13

    cash_13 Senior Member

    I to was appalled but laughed at the vets singing why are we waiting and the heckling they did on Gordon...... ( why are his initials GB ) what great about him!

    Good on them......I also noticed the camera panning around and not one vet was moaning at the weather but old Gordon kept looking like he did not want to be there.....

    well gordon bloody brown they did not want to be their 65 years ago to save your fat bloated ar5e but they did it anyway because unlike you they are proud to be british..

    God I am so angry.........also cant believe the cadets half of them couldn't even march in step arms all over the place....the whole thing was a nightmare but well done to Paul and all beeb for keeping the lads safe.....

    Out of interest where else did Charles go british related?


    Paul I will see that your story gets on LBC on the Nick Ferrari & James O'brian show...

    They will get slated big time have a listen tomorrow ands see what we can arrange

    Regards Lee
     
    Steve G likes this.

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