If you had just 1 hour.........

Discussion in 'General' started by canuck, Jul 25, 2019.

  1. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    If the illustrious membership of this forum will indulge me this flight of fantasy, I've often had this random question go through my thoughts.
    If I could go back in time for one hour and be witness to a single event in WW2, where and when would that be?

    While I have considered less obvious choices, it always comes back to Juno Beach at 7am on June 6, 1944. The reason being the enormity of the event and that the collection of accounts of that day, like the battle itself, are confusing, contradictory and disjointed. Unlike many other actions, I do not have a clear sense of how it unfolded. To bear witness to that defining event, in it's entirety, is an obviously impossible but fascinating idea.

    Where would you spend your one hour and why?
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  2. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Too difficult--too many choices.

    That said, despite being focused on the army, I think 00:00 until 01:00 on 17/5/43 over the Möhne dam in Gibson's Lancaster B.III (Special) would be an unimaginably exciting/terrifying spectacle to watch unfold.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
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  3. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    I would also pick Juno Beach, but not D-Day. :-P Dad's unit war started at Courseulles-sur-Mer on 17 June 1944, when his LST landed there.

    I found an amazing photo in the National Archives. I had the photo blown up and it is now framed and hung on the wall and speaks to me. A walk there would be sufficient for me.

    It would be the start of his journey to meet his Dutch Wife and started our Branch of the family.

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  4. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    An hour might be pushing it, even by boat, but a look at the Kota Bharu landing site and defences appeals. It's since been lost to the sea so it would be an opportunity to fill a gap in the historical record. A handful of post-battle and 'first anniversary' shots have appeared in Japanese wartime magazines but not enough to piece together the complicated layout of the estuary.
    As the landing itself was at night, watching the battle itself might be a bit pointless.
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  5. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Several scenes ...

    The opening barrage of Op Veritable ... in the early hours of Feb 8, 1945, heralding the battle for the Rhineland and the end of the war ... listening to it from a safe distance though ... 'unfortunately' it lasted well over one hour, so I would miss most of the show :huh:.

    The Rhine Crossing at Rees in the evening of 23 March 45 ... Crossing in one of the Buffaloos ... relatively save if I may believe the stories of the veterans I met, and a great spectacle, complete with shrieking Scottish bag pipes. The actual Crossing was made within 15 minutes ... but I'm in doubt ...there were Schu-mines in abundance on the far bank and enemy soldiers... I'm not a hero :surr:

    When I was still studying the Battle of the Bulge more intensively -ages ago - I often imagined warning the unsuspecting Americans for the upcoming German attack ... but I now seriously doubt whether this would have worked. They probably would not have believed my story, especially because of my weird Dutch accent which could easily be taken for German; within the hour I probably would end up in a POW cage or worse :unsure:.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
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  6. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Now isnt this a `what if thread` ?? :)

    Seriously despite my interest in WW2 I would gladly give up my hour in the War Years to have 30 seconds on a platform to pull back on the arm of a school friend who fell in front of an oncoming train some years ago. Cannot forget the pain of his Mum and Dad ,still don`t know what to say to them today :( . Miss him everyday x.

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  7. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    I'd take Hudson River piers in NYC any time in summer of 45 :)

    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
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  8. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    This belongs in 'The Barracks' really.
    I'd take half an hour in June 1940 to see which barns the locals were hiding abandoned BEF motorcycles in...and half an hour in an Officer's uniform in May 1945 to tell them that they had to hand 'em over :)
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  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I was going to say watching the nukes being dropped but then I thought I'd actually like to see the fire-bombing of Tokyo just to see how destructive conventional weapons are.
    I'm sure it would be very sobering to see.
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  10. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hard to decide following 50 Div, there is just so much they were at the centre of...

    That said, I think I’d like to have been with my dad’s oldest brother at Bray Dunes and convince him to go to Dunkirk and salvation, rather than die as he did at Bray Dunes. I’m named after him and it’s personal. It always has been.

    This and the loss of a great grandfather in WWI, also 50 Div, I never really had any choice about being interested in history and specifically 50 Div. I am not complaining...
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    JITTER PARTY Active Member

    Sittang Bridge leading up to the bang.
    Broadway as the first glider lands.
    At the airfield with Wingate and Slim. Finally clear up who said and did what.
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  12. smdarby

    smdarby Well-Known Member

    Fuhrerbunker in Berlin on the afternoon of 30 April 1945.
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  13. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Still the hats.
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  14. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Interesting you say that. I debated even posting this subject for that very reason. But, acknowledging the impossibility, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to highlight everyone's most important moments and the reasons for that specific interest.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2019
  15. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    A number of events spring to mind - as always I tend to refer to some of my father's memories.. he was 43 years old when I was born so all his youthful shenanigans were starting to become a dim and distant memory by the time I came along and I know that my mother, Private Pat Webb, wouldn't have countenanced any discussions on the matter. It was only 45 years later that I started to become fully aware of what my father had been up to during his 3 1/2 gap years away from home and the extended holiday break that he went on right across the Mediterranean and up to the Alps that had started when he left Greenock on a cruise liner on 11th November 1942.. spolier alert - the brochures were wrong...

    So I will indulge myself here with my one hour of personal time travel and join my Dad and his mates when they finally reached the river Po on the morning of 25th April 1945... The war diaries of the 2nd Battalion London Irish Riles on that day simply state:

    "0500 During this night’s operations, the bttn fired its last shots of the Italian Campaign."

    I can not possibly imagine their emotions that day but my Dad wrote later:

    "We had arrived at the Po. During the last days of the offensive, we had passed a most distressing sight. Beautiful draught horses had been shot dead and lay bloated and stinking. The Germans had killed them rather than let them live and remain for us. Most had been commandeered from the unfortunate Italians. They had lost so much. Their beautiful country had been destroyed from Sicily to the Po and occupied by aliens from all over the world.

    The south bank of the Po was an extraordinary scene. The Germans, trapped by the river, had abandoned everything. Many had even tried to swim the Po to escape and many died as a result. The carnage of war continued relentlessly as if it were now on a form of autopilot.

    The company rested by the side of Po while the Royal Engineers set about bridging its mile width. I arranged a campfire and ‘drunk’ using Canadian beer and hot rum toddy. Corporal Howarth was, as usual, master of ceremonies. When directed, each person had to sing....."

    That 20 year old raw recruit in October 1939 was now a mature 26 year old....a long life of peace and security lay ahead... I'd beam down and join my Dad at the Po for a reunion drink and a chat about the cricket... and then into a rendition of the "Rose of Tralee" for his mother Liz Hanlon... and then I'd leave him alone to dream about the future.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2019
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  16. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Close to your own example, a second choice for me would have been circling Bremen in June 1942 with Group Captain Johnny Fauquier as he served as Master Bomber. He used his Halifax to strafe searchlights around the target during that raid.
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  17. kopite

    kopite Member

    Standing on the White Cliffs of Dover during the Battle of Britain and watching the Luftwaffe coming in over the channel. Then cheering on the Hurricanes and Spitfires of the RAF as they engage them and blow them out of the sky.
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  18. chipm

    chipm Active Member

    After the victory in Stalingrad was final.....to stand here.
    No more hallowed ground, IMHO.
    The visual is second to none....... :(

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  19. Tolbooth

    Tolbooth Patron Patron

    Oh ! Decisions, decisions....

    Maybe an hour in Coventry on the afternoon of 14th November 1940, just before Herr Goering kindly gave the developers a headstart on turning an ancient medieval city into a post-modern wasteland.
    About 0800 on the morning of 29 July '44 in the village of Sept Vents to watch my dads' flail going into action for the first time during the first day of OP BLUECOAT.

    Think going to my parents wedding might be a bit...well...weird !
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  20. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    You could write a film script about it and give it a title such as - I dont know - how about "Back to the Future" :rolleyes::unsure:

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