Marking the 70th Anniversary

Discussion in 'All Anniversaries' started by Owen, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    I've been watching the TV coverage since 06:30 this morning ( on BBC1 & Chanel 80) and have to say it has been first class.

    Whilst watching the Duke of Edinburgh chatting to Normandy veterans I couldn't help wondering on the size of his WW2 medal rack and so I Googled to learn more about it:

    Most interesting !

  2. Staffsyeoman

    Staffsyeoman Member

    Like the Battle of Britain 70th however, I have a great urge to slap James Holland for trying to talk over any other historian in the room and not let them get a word in edgeways.
  3. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Couldn't agree more Ron....what a splendid presentation on the BBC...even after all this time, very moving for a person who remembers as a child the gravity of our postion in 1940

    I have visited Arromanches many times and seeing it on the BBC again always reminds me of the events on D Day and that sea wall by the car park.That sea wall must have been the first obsticle blown on D Day when our lads sought to get off the beach.
  4. Stormbird

    Stormbird Restless

    For all the veterans today
    For all those who didn't make it
    For their mates and families
    For all who were wounded
    Simply; for all who sacrified so much so we could live in freedom


    We will always remember them in gratitude
    canuck likes this.
  5. ww2ni

    ww2ni Senior Member

    I attended the Commemoration at Crom Castle in County Fermanagh which is the home of The Earl and Countess of Erne.

    The U.S. Consul General, Gregory S. Burton was there along wither Majesties Lord Lieutenant for County Fermanagh Viscount Brookeborough and Vicountess Brookeborough, D-Day Veterans and other WW2 Veterans.

    Excellent day.

    Attached Files:

  6. Combover

    Combover Guest

  7. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    My father certainly didn't forget 12th June 1944 between his battalion's battle at Sinagoga and a just before another bitter fighting period at San Fatucchio. The photo below was actually taken when the Irish Brigade returned to the Vatican on 9th July but gives you an idea.

    "On the 12 June, it was announced that 30 Catholics and Irish officers and men from the London Irish, plus the pipe band, had been invited to join one of the first private audiences for the Allies with the Pope. We were already some 30 miles or so north of Rome, so it meant that detachments of the Irish Brigade would have to go back to the city. Each company provided six men and I made sure that I was there. We were driven back in TCVs led by Brigadier Scott, an Irish Protestant, who did not intend to miss a singular honour for the brigade.

    The audience had been arranged by the Irish Ambassador to the Holy See, the Brigade Major and Father Dan Kelleher. We arrived at Saint Peter’s Square and the detachment of about 130 soldiers, including the composite pipe band, entered the Vatican. In single file, we climbed the carpeted stairway, passing the Swiss Guards in their Michael Angelo uniforms. Papal dignitaries, both clerical and lay, were everywhere in a variety of costumes. We filed into the papal consistory chamber: a hall with walls covered in a rich red material just sufficient to accommodate us. In the front was a small dais upon which the brigadier, Father Kelleher, the brigade major and the ambassador awaited. As each person entered, they were given a rosary and a papal blessing document. I turned to my neighbours and recognised Irish sergeants who were members of the Orange Order.

    At 9am, His Holiness Pope Pius XIII walked in with his dignitaries. He was a quite small figure dressed in a white soutain and a white skull cap. The brigadier knelt and kissed the Pope’s ring. This he did a couple of times later. Despite his Protestantism, the brigadier was obviously thrilled that his brigade was making history. Pope Pius addressed us in perfect English with but a trace of accent and declared: ‘Gentlemen of Ireland.’ I do not remember exactly what else he said, as my head was in a whirl. I was thrilled to be there.

    Brigadier Scott asked if the Pope would like to hear some pipe music. The massed brigade band in their saffron kilts and caubeens with the various coloured hackles and regimental badges played ‘Killaloe’ followed by the ‘The Sash My Father Wore‘. This was probably the first and last time one of the signature tunes of the Orange Order was heard in the Vatican. His Holiness tapped his foot to the beat of the martial music and obviously enjoyed the alien sound. He then blessed our rosaries and other objects and each of us mounted the dais to kneel and kiss his ring. The small Orange detachment remained in place. More pipe music was played and the whole assembly was given the pontifical blessing. The Pope walked out to the sound of pipes and we filed out.

    By arrangement, the retreat was beat on the steps of St Peter’s on the large flat surface half way to the entrance. Crowds of clergy stood around clapping and, beyond the square, a vast crowd had gathered. The Catholics in the detachment, who were in the majority, and many others went into Mass at the Blessed Sacrament altar. I was the master of ceremonies and there were about 10 other servers. I had served Mass in many strange places, but to do so in St Peter’s Cathedral was beyond belief. The basilica was enormous and I could not wait to see over it. The Pieta and the magnificent High Altar will remain in my memory.

    At the end of the ceremony, we were dismissed to have the day free until the afternoon. With a couple of others, I toured the cathedral open-mouthed at this splendour in the middle of a war. Rome was untouched having been declared an Open City. Due to my tour, I missed the invitation to visit the Convent of the Irish Franciscan Sisters which was at the top of the Spanish Steps. Instead, I explored Rome on foot, seeing the Coliseum and other famous historical sites. We embussed in the late afternoon and made our way to the battalion which had advanced that day a further 30 miles or so.”

    Attached Files:

  8. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    At Tom's request, a link to his story, from BBC People's War

  9. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    On 21st June 1944, the 2nd Battalion London Irish Rifles (2 LIR), with close support from 11 Canadian Armoured Regiment, led an assault on the Albert Line at the strongly fortified village of San Fatucchio, just to the west of Lake Trasimene.

    At the time, Brigade Commander Pat Scott wrote about the circumstances of the assault:

    "When they were attacking, I had a very welcome and unsolicited testimonial of their magnificent spirit from 11 Brigade. The Lancashire Fusiliers had telephoned back to say how full of praise they were for the way in which the Irish Rifles had gone in. It is a rare thing for one battalion to praise another in a different Brigade and I think this was one of the highest tributes that they could have received, especially coming as it did, from such a fine fighting battalion as the Lancashire Fusiliers."

    My father, Edmund, had some other vivid memories of that day:
    “It was still broad daylight when I brought up a cooked meal for the company across country following the route of the forward troops. While it was still light, I was serving it up, helped by the stretcher bearers. As the light faded, a burst of machine gun fire shattered the lintel above my head. I dived for cover behind the insulated food containers and crawled into the building for safety. Any movement brought shellfire down on our farm buildings. The Germans had our range to perfection. I persuaded a party consisting of my driver Corporal Gough and the stretcher bearers to line up and make a dash with the empty containers for the jeep parked some 20 yards away behind an outbuilding. ‘All you have to do is throw them on the ground by the jeep. I’ll pack them on,’ I said. ‘At my command, Run!’ We had started to move when a shell burst right outside the door, killing one and wounding the other of the first pair.

    E Company’s OC was on the first floor and he shouted for me. I went to him and reported what had happened.

    ‘Are you off ?,’ he asked.

    I replied: ‘No person will help me to carry the containers, Sir.’

    ‘Do it yourself, with the driver,’ he said. Already shaken, I was horrified. I saluted him and left.

    ‘And take the body to the RAP,’ he said. This was an unusual order. Bodies were normally buried where they had fallen, once the identity disc had been removed to be given to BHQ with a map reference.

    I persuaded Gough to make the short journey with the containers. Wrapped in a blanket, the corpse was placed on top of the folded windscreen on the bonnet. Both back wheels were punctured and the jeep was running on its back rims. We roared down the 100-yard track from the farm and turned left on to the road. Eyewitnesses said we were followed by heavy fire. The stretch of road was about 600 yards long and forked left to the village where the quartermaster was based. We were tracked by mortar fire. After turning towards the village, we saw, about 100 yards ahead, a wrecked artillery quad that was blocking the road. There was a shallow ditch on its right and we drove along it at a steep angle with the two right hand wheels down the ditch and the other two on the road. I held containers with one hand and the body with the other as we bumped back on to the road. The mortar fire stopped when we were in the shelter of the quad and out of sight of the enemy.

    We rattled our way into the village and stopped when we saw Joe Turvey, colour sergeant of H Company. He started to tell me of his experience with his own company with one hand on the body.

    ‘What’s this ?’ he asked.

    ‘A stretcher bearer,’ I replied. ‘He was killed carrying containers to the jeep.’

    Joe almost jumped with the shock. I proceeded to the RAP. There, I was rebuked by the medical officer for bringing back the body and having a corpse adjacent to food containers.….”

    The company commander in question was killed in October 1944 near Monte Spaduro...

    Quis Separabit.
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  10. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    RAF Veterans remember the Warsaw Uprising 70 years ago

    Seventy years ago - on 2 October 1944 - the Warsaw Uprising was finally crushed by the German army, after 63 days. Stalin's failure to help is well known, but few know of the RAF veterans who risked their lives trying to help the Polish resistance.

    Flying secret missions on RAF special duties did not involve asking questions.

    But when rear gunner Jim Mckenzie-Leith received instructions 70 years ago to fly to Warsaw, he remembers his reaction: "The previous couple of days the squadron had lost four aircraft…it went through my mind…Bloody hell, have we got to go there as well?"

    more here:
  11. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

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