Battle of the Bulge 70th Anniversary

Belgian Royalty mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes in snowy weather reminiscent of wintry conditions of the battle. nutsThe country’s King Philippe and his wife, Queen Mathilde, threw nuts into crowds of revellers in homage to the U.S. Army General Anthony McAuliffe (pictured right) who responded: ‘Nuts!’ when confronted with an ultimatum by the German army, Well-wishers dressed in GI uniforms to pay tribute to the American divisions which tirelessly defended the 70-mile stretch of woodland in the 1944 battle, known for having been fought under thick, cold mist.2407B61300000578-2872631-King_Philippe_is_pictured_after_laying_the_floral_wreath_at_a_mo-m-149_1418503214011

More than 10,000 troops were killed in the conflict launched by Hitler in a final bid to infiltrate the west by infiltrating one of its quietest fronts. Over the course of four days from December 16, American divisions of the alliance came under the siege of Nazis, with German troops switching uniforms to cut telephone wires and sabotage their resources.2407161100000578-2872631-image-m-152_1418508078395

After weeks of bloodshed, western forces triumphed in what was hailed by Winston Churchill as ‘an ever-famous American victory’. Dressed in black, the Belgian royal family today braved blizzards and freezing temperatures to lay wreaths at the McAuliffe monument in Bastogne, named after the American general who spearheaded the ferocious defence. Belgian Royalty turned out in blustery wind and snow today to commemorate the Battle of Bulge fought between the Nazis and Allied Forces 70 years ago.82d_poster_photo

The text on the newspaper cut out reads: Dec. 23, 1944 – “Battle of the Bulge” – An entire U.S. armored division was retreating from the Germans in the Ardennes forest when a Sergeant in a tank destroyer spotted an American digging a foxhole. The GI, PFC Martin, 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, looked up and asked, “Are you looking for a safe place?” “Yeah” answered the tanker. “Well, buddy,” he drawled, “just pull your vehicle behind me… I’m the 82nd Airborne, and this is as far as the bastards are going.”

And lets not forget the unsung heroes of the battle whose deeds often go unmentioned, the ‘builders and fighters’ of the 168th Engineer Battalion (Combat). First constituted on 25 February 1943 and activated at Camp Carson (later known as Fort Carson), Colorado on 5 May 1943. The new unit trained and conducted maneuvers at Camp Carson and in Tennessee, prior to deploying to Europe in 1944.

‘The 168th Engineer Battalion landed on Utah Beach, Normandy, France with General George S. Patton’s Third Army in mid-July 1944. Between August 1944 and March 1945, the 168th Engineers fought in France, Belgium, and Germany, transferring between the Third, Ninth, and First Armies. They fought alongside the 7th and 11th Armored Divisions, and the 29th, 106th, 4th, 89th, and 2nd Infantry Divisions.’engineer_bulge02Engineers sweep for mines in the snow during the Ardennes campaign Prior to the Battle of the Bulge, between 17 and 23 December 1944, the 168th Engineers reorganised as infantry and were charged with the defense of St. Vith, Belgium (Sahn-Vee). During the crucial period of the German offensive in the Ardennes in 1944, the 7th Armored Division, of which the 168th Engineers were then an element, was attacked by enemy forces estimated at 8 divisions, among them 3 SS Panzer and 2 Panzer divisions. The Allied forces were subjected to repeated tank and infantry attacks, which grew in intensity as the German forces attempted to destroy the stubborn forces that were denying them the use of the key communication center of St. Vith. The attacking forces were repeatedly thrown back by the gallant troops who rose from their foxholes and fought in fierce hand-to-hand combat to stop the penetrations and inflict heavy losses on the numerically superior foe. The 168th Engineer Battalion, and the 7th Armored Division, inflicted crippling losses and imposed great delay upon the enemy by a masterful and grimly determined defence in keeping with the highest traditions of the Army of the United States. Their performance in the battle earned them the Presidential Unit Citation, the Army’s highest unit award. COMMEMORATING THE BRAVERY OF THE 168th ENGINEER COMBAT BATTALION jewett01

And if you have time for a bloody good read ‘Hinder Forward: The 168th Engineer Combat Battalion’ This is their story, the men of the 168th Engineer Combat Battalion, in their own words, not written by some second guesser working in a quiet and safe modern facility, but by those who were actually there in the heat, the mud, the cold, the bullets, the bombs, the tree bursts and the mines…   True Grit from a generation whose ranks are slowly dwindling through the passage of time. A hearty BZ to one and all.       Yours Aye.

With thanks to ‘CenTexTim’ for the additional prompt, because sometimes we need reminding that we also have a personal library full of books, as well as past memories…

‘Come on lads-I’m bulletproof-follow me!’

Medal ‘victory’ for forgotten Falklands hero as government U-turn paves the way for Paratrooper to receive top gallantry award. Corporal Stewart McLaughlin, 27, who was killed leading British Paratroopers during the Battle of Mount Longdon in June 1982, was denied a bravery award after commanders lost his handwritten citation. The recommendation was written just hours after Cpl McLaughlin’s death on the mountain overlooking the capital Port Stanley where British Paras took key enemy positions.1416697445751_Image_galleryImage_Corporal_Stewart_McLaughlCpl McLaughlin’s citation described how he had ‘fought like a demon’ and inspired young Paras in his section by charging towards enemy machine-gun fire shouting: ‘Come on lads, I’m bulletproof, follow me!’

If ever a man was worthy of a posthumous medal for bravery it was Corporal Stewart McLaughlin – 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment. Justice at long last. Yours Aye.

The Shores of Normandy D-Day

Jim Radford sailed from his home-town of Hull in East Yorkshire as a 15-year-old galley boy on the Deep Sea Tug ‘Empire Larch,’ it was his first time of going to sea, it was also June 1944. He was heading to Normandy via Poole to form part of the largest invasion force the world has ever seen. He settled back onto dry land (after several years in the Royal Navy) ten years later. He left as a boy, within 24 hours he’d changed into a man…

The Shores Of Normandy

In the cold grey light of the sixth of June, in the year of forty-four,
The Empire Larch sailed out from Poole to join with thousands more.
The largest fleet the world had seen, we sailed in close array,
And we set our course for Normandy at the dawning of the day.

There was not one man in all our crew but knew what lay in store,
For we had waited for that day through five long years of war.
We knew that many would not return, yet all our hearts were true,
For we were bound for Normandy, where we had a job to do.

Now the Empire Larch was a deep-sea tug with a crew of thirty-three,
And I was just the galley-boy on my first trip to sea.
I little thought when I left home of the dreadful sights I’d see,
But I came to manhood on the day that I first saw Normandy.

At the Beach of Gold off Arromanches, ‘neath the rockets’ deadly glare,
We towed our blockships into place and we built a harbour there.
‘Mid shot and shell we built it well, as history does agree,
While brave men died in the swirling tide on the shores of Normandy.

Like the Rodney and the Nelson, there were ships of great renown,
But rescue tugs all did their share as many a ship went down.
We ran our pontoons to the shore within the Mulberry’s lee,
And we made safe berth for the tanks and guns that would set all Europe free.

For every hero’s name that’s known, a thousand died as well.
On stakes and wire their bodies hung, rocked in the ocean swell;
And many a mother wept that day for the sons they loved so well,
Men who cracked a joke and cadged a smoke as they stormed the gates of hell.

As the years pass by, I can still recall the men I saw that day
Who died upon that blood-soaked sand where now sweet children play;
And those of you who were unborn, who’ve lived in liberty,
Remember those who made it so on the shores of Normandy.

A boy to a man in 24 hours. From the bottom of my heart I would like to say a very grateful ‘Thank You’              Yours Aye.

A boxing cop with with a big heart

Heroic boxing coach (who is also a cop) adopts two brothers, 11 and 15, after learning they were living in squalid conditions with abusive foster family.1415294091698_Image_galleryImage_He_s_a_tough_narcotics_coHe’s a city cop by day – but by night, Detective Jack Mook is working on his toughest case yet. Mook, a Gulf War veteran who also teaches boxing to Pittsburgh-area kids, fostered two of his young students after learning they were living in abusive conditions with a foster family. And now after two years, Mook and the boys, 11-year-old Jessee and his 15-year-old brother Josh, have finally become a legal family – after Mook adopted them in September. It means the bachelor, 45, is now adapting to a new routine of homework and healthy meals. Heroic boxing coach adopts two brothers, 11 and 15, after learning they were living in squalid conditions with abusive foster family

Jack Mook has a heart the size of a Royal Navy main galley frying pan (they don’t come any bigger!) Bloody well done Coach…    Yours Aye.

Churchill’s secret fearless warriors

1414706302613_Image_galleryImage_Former_Prime_Minister_of_Kill without mercy, party like there’s no tomorrow: Churchill’s secret band of fearless warriors broke hearts, rules — and the Nazis’ spirit.  One of the most extraordinary stories of World War II is also one of the least commonly known, that of a small band of men charged by Winston Churchill himself with carrying out ‘a butcher-and-bolt reign of terror’ behind enemy lines.

Often dosed up on powerful amphetamines, they were an eclectic, wildly unconventional bunch, one of whom favoured the bow-and-arrow as his weapon of choice. They went initially by a prosaic name, Small Scale Raiding Force (SSRF), operating under the aegis of the secretive Special Operations Executive, which had been formed in July 1940 to carry out ‘operations seen as too politically explosive, illegal or unconscionable as to be embraced by the wider British establishment’.220px-Anders_Lassen_1920-1945

Major Anders Frederik Emil Victor Schau Lassen VC, MC & Two Bars (22 September 1920 – 9 April 1945) 

‘CHURCHILL’S SECRET WARRIORS’ by Damien Lewis (Quercus £20). 

Damien Lewis’s compelling book gives as good an explanation as any of why the Special Operations Executive also came to be known as the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare. And perhaps the least gentlemanly of the SSRF butcher-and-bolt specialists was an aristocratic Dane, Anders — known as Andy — Lassen, who was not averse to bellowing orders in German to confuse the enemy. It was the similarly unorthodox Lassen who petitioned the War Office to be allowed to develop the bow-and-arrow, with which he had hunted on the family estate, as the perfect, silent killing machine. But Whitehall mandarins refused, declaring arrows — in the age of the machine-gun and flame-thrower, as Lewis wryly points out — to be somehow ‘inhuman’.150px-British_Commandos_Patch

Still, that didn’t stop Lassen, dubbed the ‘Robin Hood commando’ by locals in rural Dorset, where he trained in the summer of 1942 in preparation for a furtive assault on the occupied Channel Islands. Indeed, one of the themes of this absorbing tale is the constant battle not just between the Allies and the Nazis, but also between the regular army and Churchill’s licensed buccaneers. 

In Italy in 1945, one regular officer told Lassen that he and his wild bunch were a disgrace, “What would the enemy think of them, if they were found not just dead, but unshaven?” It is certainly true he was no respecter of bureaucratic authority. After every raid, he and other key commanders were supposed to file an operational report. But he detested all such paperwork and his reports famously consisted of no more than five words: ‘Landed. Killed Germans. F***ed off.’ Churchill’s secret band of fearless warriors; the Small Scale Raiding Force (SSRF)

Almost Christmas, and another book has just been added to my ‘non-digital reading list’ Yours Aye.

Once again; Lions Led by Donkey’s

Military top brass don’t want you to see war movie showing hero killed in botched rescue bid: Defence chiefs attempt to block film about death of British soldier in Afghanistan. Defence chiefs have attempted to block the production of a new film about the death of a British Paratrooper in Afghanistan – because it portrays how the RAF botched a rescue mission.    Once again – ‘Lions Led By Donkeys.’MoS2 Template MasterCorporal Mark Wright died in September 2006 after becoming stranded in an unmarked minefield during a mission against Taliban fighters near the strategically important Kajaki Dam in Helmand province. But tragedy struck when a Chinook helicopter sent to rescue Cpl Wright and other British soldiers set off mines in the area as it attempted to land, causing him fatal injuries and injuring others. Below: Paratrooper Corporal Mark Wright 1414270249696_wps_1_A_SCOTTISH_soldier_who_waThe Ministry of Defence was heavily criticised at the inquest into Cpl Wright’s death in 2009, with the coroner saying officials should ‘hang their heads in shame’ over the failure to send a properly equipped aircraft. Now the incident has been depicted in a new film, Kajaki: A True Story, which will be released next month. The movie, which stars Game Of Thrones actor Mark Stanley as a medic who tries to save Cpl Wright, is backed by Help For Heroes and other military charities which will receive a percentage of the box office takings. But the makers have told The Mail on Sunday that they were blocked in their attempts to research key parts of the story, because MoD officials refused permission to speak to any of the air crew involved. Defence chiefs attempt to block film about death of British Paratrooper in Afghanistanhelp_for_heroes logoWhen the report of the Coroner’s inquest was issued in October 2008, I like many others wanted those responsible to be hung, drawn, and quartered. Those responsible being British Politician’s as well as very senior Top Brass who at the time, couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery! The Coroners Report in full Part of which, I would like to highlight, and add a hearty B.Z. “The actions of the US personnel who flew into the minefield is without doubt heroism of the highest order, by the specialist rescue and recovery team. Those who survived owe their lives to the Americans.”

23rd of October 2014: British commanders have given a damning assessment of the military campaign in Afghanistan, admitting that at times troops were so stretched there was a risk they would be ‘massacred!’ Documentary: “Afghanistan: The Lion’s Last Roar?” Is being shown on BBC2 on Sunday, October 26 at 9pm and Sunday, November 2 at 9pm. For those who are able, please watch it and weep tears of rage… And cast your mind back to the Socialist Labour Government who allowed our Armed Forces to fight undermanned, under paid, under armed, and with their hands tied behind their backs. All the while forcing additional severe cuts to military spending.

Yours ‘With Venom & Hatred In My Heart Towards Every Socialist Politician’ Aye.

‘INVICTUS’ Resilient Wounded Warriors

The Invictus Games LONDON. Opening Ceremony 10th September 20141410376506029_wps_65_LONDON_ENGLAND_SEPTEMBER_ WHO INVICTUS EXISTS FOR: Invictus Games competitors are the men and women who have come face-to-face with the reality of making a sacrifice for their country. They are the mothers, fathers, husbands and wives who put their lives on the line and suffered life-changing injuries. These people are the embodiment of everything the Invictus Games stands for. They have been tested and challenged, but they have not been overcome. They have proven they cannot be defeated. They have the willpower to persevere and conquer new heights.8385661905_fe24151ff6_o-1024x682

The Invictus Games are about survival in the face of adversity and the strength of the human spirit. They will send a positive message about life beyond disability. Over 400 competitors from 13 nations will take part in the Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women. Teams will come from the Armed Forces of nations that have served alongside each other. The Games will use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation, and generate a wider understanding and respect of those who serve their country.

The event, which is championed by Prince Harry, will be a celebration of resilience and passion. The Games will shine a spotlight on Armed Forces personnel and veterans who have put their lives on the line for their country demonstrating how they and their families are valued, respected and supported. For competitors, it will offer a memorable, inspiring and energising experience in their journey of recovery.1410378342713_Image_galleryImage_LONDON_ENGLAND_SEPTEMBER_

‘Their stories are as amazing as they are unique’ Prince Harry’s speech in full…

‘Over the past eight years, I have witnessed the whole cycle of life changing injury; evacuating soldiers and local Afghans to hospital; flying home from Afghanistan with some of those critically injured; meeting others in hospital coming to terms with life changing injuries; and finally trying to keep up with 12 wounded veterans on our way to the South Pole. ‘I can only begin to imagine how challenging the journey of recovery is, but the admiration I have for these men and women, to move beyond their injuries, is limitless. ‘Last year, through The Royal Foundation, I visited the Warrior Games in the United States.Prince Harry

‘Seeing people who, only months earlier, had been told they’d never walk again, now winning medals in front of their family and friends was breathtaking. ‘I knew that anyone would be inspired by what these men and women had achieved, not just other servicemen and women, but all those adjusting to life post injury. ‘Each of them have come such a long way; even making it to the start line is a huge achievement. Their stories are as amazing, as they are unique. ‘However, they all share one thing – sport. Sport has been the vehicle for their recovery, allowing them to channel their passion into what can be achieved, rather than what can’t. ‘No longer are these inspirational men and women defined by their injury but as athletes, competitors and team mates. ‘Over the next four days we will see some truly remarkable achievements.

For some of those taking part, this will be a stepping stone to elite sport but for others it will mark the end of a chapter in their recovery, and the beginning of a new one. ‘Either way, you can be sure that, everyone who takes to the track, pool or field of play will be giving it their all. ‘I have no doubt that lives will be changed this weekend. ‘It gives me great pleasure to welcome the 13 nations to London and to say how delighted I am that many of you are joined by your families, recognising the vital party they play in your recovery. ‘The British public’s support for our servicemen and women has been exceptional; I know they will show you the same over the coming days. ‘Finally, I would like to thank you for the tremendous example you set. Your stories move, inspire and humble us. You prove that anything is possible, if you have the will. ‘Welcome to the Games. Welcome to Invictus.’

* More than 400 competitors
* A total of 13 countries represented – alongside the UK team will be competitors from the US, Denmark, Estonia, France, Italy, Canada, Netherlands, Australia, Afghanistan, Georgia, New Zealand and Germany.
* Four days of competition.
* Competitions are taking place in nine adaptive sports: athletics, swimming, power-lifting, indoor rowing, sitting volleyball, road cycling, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and archery.
* Five venues, including those used during the 2012 London Olympic Games
* An audience of 5,000 is expected for Wednesday’s opening ceremony at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Parkhttp://invictusgames.org

INVICTUS

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley 1875team-hill

This man is the epitome of a wounded warrior. “Reconnaissance Marine Corporal Todd Love – wounded in Afghanistan, proceeds to skydive, surf and run the spartan race with a gas mask, no legs and one hand.”  They say that ‘the greatest casualty is being forgotten.’ Let us never forget their sacrifice…  Yours Aye.

B.Z. Prince Harry – done and dusted in six months…

Inspirational Gunny…

article-2679195-1F59F83100000578-429_470x423USMC Bomb Disposal Technician who has ALWAYS kept a smile on his face – even after he lost both limbs in an Afghan IED blast. USMC Gunnery Sergeant Brian Meyer was deployed as a bomb technician in Afghanistan in 2011 when the device he was defusing exploded prematurely. The then 29-year-old Marine was ripped apart by the blast. He lost his right leg above the knee, his right hand above the wrist and three fingers of his left hand.

article-2679195-1F59FA5300000578-320_470x423While still receiving treatment on the battlefield, G/Sgt Meyer, fearful of the impact his injuries would have on his squad, ordered Eric Lunson to take his photograph. Forcing a smile through the pain, Sgt Meyer, raised what would have earlier been a thumbs’ up as the shutter clicked. The photograph, Sgt Meyer hoped, would provide inspiration for his men as he began his own battle with recovery. USMC Gunnery Sgt Brian Meyer smiling through pain. 

A real hero in the true sense of the word. One of thousands that we should all be proud of. B.Z. Gunny…     Yours Aye.

Apache’s on the warpath

1404215307925_Image_galleryImage_BNPS_co_uk_01202_558833_PDaring pilot who flew his Apache helicopter into a Taliban fort sells his medals for £100,000 to start new life as a civilian. A British Army Air Corps pilot who performed one of the most daring rescues of the Afghanistan war is selling his gallantry medal to raise £100,000. Captain Tom O’Malley flew his Apache gunship into a Taliban stronghold with two Royal Marines strapped to the side in an extraordinary bid to save a wounded Marine. Daring pilot who flew his Apache helicopter into a Taliban fort sells his medals  1404215070741_Image_galleryImage_BNPS_co_uk_01202_558833_PThe story at the time made aviation history as it was the first time an Apache gunship was used in such a way carrying external pax into a hostile environment. Not wishing to deflect the bravery of those involved, but; another hero that day was WOI Ed Macy. Army Air Corps; who received the Military Cross for his courage during the Jugroom Fort rescue.

ed-macy-apache‘APACHE’ THE MAN. THE MACHINE. THE MISSION. Describes Ed Macy’s tour, as well as the hastily planned mission ‘he’ put together to rescue Marine Matthew Christopher Ford.

‘Ed Macy is an elite pilot, one of the few men qualified to fly Apache helicopters, the world’s deadliest fighting machines. This is his account of a fearless mission behind enemy lines in Afghanistan.’

‘After a brutal accident forced him out of the Paras, Ed Macy refused to go down quietly. He bent every rule to sign up for the Army’s gruelling Apache helicopter programme and was one of the handful to pass the nightmare selection process. Dispatched to Afghanistan’s notorious Helmand Province in 2006, his squadron were on hand when a Marine went MIA behind enemy lines – and they knew they were his only hope.’

‘From the cockpit of the mighty Apache helicopter comes this incredible true story of a rescue mission so dangerous they said it couldn’t be done, and of the man who dared to disagree.’ I would urge those of you who enjoy a bloody good read without any ‘gung-ho bull s**t’ to beg, borrow, steal, or purchase the same book. You will not be disappointed. Yours Aye.                APACHE is dedicated to Marine Mathew Christopher Ford.

Maurice Roe – Obituary

Maurice Roe – Obituary. Maurice Roe was a Special Operations Executive agent who once found himself billeted in a French chateau alongside a German officer.Maurice-Roe_2954630c

Maurice Roe, who has died aged 96, served variously as a Commando, as well as an SOE and “Jedburgh” agent; he was awarded a Military Medal in 1945. On the night of July 8 1944, wearing ill-fitting civilian clothes, Roe was parachuted into France near Pel-et-Der, in the Aube, attached to an SOE French Section Mission which aimed to revive the “Pedlar” circuit in the Marne. Roe and his team were driven away as soon as they landed, but the Germans reacted quickly and two members of the Resistance were killed. After he had moved to a camp in the woods near Montier-en-Der, there were several skirmishes with the Germans; but Roe, as one of the two wireless operators in the team, was considered too valuable to risk on patrolling. The local Resistance group lacked leaders and weapons. As a former Commando, Roe instructed the Maquis in guerrilla operations, selected landing strips for the delivery or dispatch of SOE agents and called down air drops.

At Wassy, he was given a billet in the château of a prominent local family. There he found that the family, uncertain which side was going to win the war, was hedging its bets by also playing host to a German colonel in charge of guarding the aerodrome at Saint-Dizier. Roe, who spoke good French, was able to pass himself off without problem, and enjoyed having his shoes polished by the colonel’s batman and receiving a salute from the sentry on the gate. Even better, the garden proved large enough for him to make his wireless transmissions without danger of interference. His cover story, had he been captured, was to claim that he had taken part in the St Nazaire raid but had escaped and gone to ground. In October 1944 he returned to England. He was subsequently awarded an MM.Maurice-Roe2_2954628bHerbert Maurice Roe, the son of a shopkeeper, was born on June 4 1917 at Ealing, west London, and educated at Ealing Grammar School. He had ambitions to become a missionary and, after leaving school, studied Philosophy in Belgium and Algeria. At the outbreak of war he had a clerical job with Cerebos Salt. He had joined the Queen’s Westminster’s Territorial Army in 1938 and he enlisted with their parent regiment, the King’s Royal Rifle Corps.

In August 1940 he volunteered for the Special Forces and, after joining 2 Commando, underwent rigorous training in Scotland. In March 1942 he was called to the War Office for an interview and missed the St Nazaire raid. Every man in his section was killed on the operation. After being posted to the Small Scale Raiding Force, he took part in raids on the coast of France and on the Channel Island of Herm. He then moved to Fawley Court, near Henley-on-Thames, where he trained to become a wireless operator. Only five feet tall, he was known as “Knee-high”. The work was very tedious and, in classes, he use to bawl: “I’m not mad! Lemme out!” This was followed by a posting to Milton Hall, near Peterborough, where he joined the “Jedburghs”, a band of men prepared to drop into Occupied zones in three-man sabotage teams.    Commando Memorial Spean Bridge5765484891_af4bd8e60d_bAfter his return from France in October 1944, Roe was informed that SOE agents were needed in the Far East, and he volunteered to join their Force 136. The voyage to India proved tedious and he used to bellow at regular intervals: “Asia for the Asiatics! Turn the boat round!” In March 1945 he was dropped into southern Burma. The object of his mission was to recruit Karen tribesmen and train them to harass the retreating Japanese. A post-operations report stated that “he was resourceful, never defeated, popular with the Karens and a continual source of merriment and fun”. He was mentioned in despatches .

Roe was demobilised early in 1946 in the rank of colour sergeant and joined Customs and Excise. He retired to live at Poole in Dorset. Maurice Roe married, in 1953, Winifred (Wyn) Heyes. She predeceased him and he is survived by their two daughters and three sons. Maurice Roe, born June 4 1917, died May 6 2014

Standing at 5 feet tall this man must have had the heart of a lion, and the constitution of an ox to enable him to pass through such arduous training. Stand Easy Maurice Roe, you are one of thousands of your generation who stepped up to be counted, and I for one am eternally grateful.             Yours Aye.                                     The Telegraph Obituaries

The measure of a brave decent man

Britain’s Schindler: Sir Nicholas Winton. MBE, 105, who saved Jewish children by organising ‘Kindertransports’ to UK set to receive highest Czech honour. images(Sir Nicholas George Winton, MBE is a British humanitarian who organized the rescue of 669 mostly Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War, in an operation later known as the Czech Kindertransport.)

A British humanitarian who saved Jews in occupied Prague from almost certain death in Nazi concentration camps is to be awarded the Czech Republic’s highest honour. Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved more than 650 mostly Jewish children from the Holocaust by organising the ‘Kindertransports’ to the UK, will receive the Order of the White Lion. 200px-Orde_van_de_Witte_Leeuw_1936His exploits just before the outbreak of total war in Europe made him a hero to the Czechs and have earned him the nickname ‘Britain’s Schindler’. The award, confirmed this week, will be given to the 105-year-old at an official ceremony on October 28, the anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia.

Sir Nicholas recently celebrated his 105th birthday at the Czech embassy in London where most of the guests were the offspring of the children rescued by him. Taking into the account the children of those he saved, there are estimated to be around 6,000 people in the world today who owe him their lives. To this day they call themselves ‘Nicky’s children’. It was late in December 1938 when Sir Nicholas from Hampstead, then a stockbroker, cancelled a holiday and instead went to Prague to see what was happening to refugees. Horrified by the treatment of the Jews under the Nazi occupation, he set about organising eight evacuations of the threatened children on the Czech Kindertransport train. He advertised in newspapers for foster homes, organised residency permits from the immigration office in the UK, and persuaded the Germans to let the children go. Britain’s Schindler: Sir Nicholas Winton. MBE, 105, who saved Jewish children organising Kindertransports

A true humanitarian who has continued to assist others throughout his entire life. The following link contains a couple of clips that show the measure of a very brave  man, who never sought recognition over his worthy acts.  Sir Nicholas Winton. MBE, ‘Nicky’s children… Yours Aye.

The Great Escape

article-2650882-1E889F9F00000578-521_306x490‘I loved every minute and I’d do it again tomorrow!’ Great Escape’ D-Day veteran, 89, who sneaked off from his care home to go to 70th anniversary commemorations in Normandy returns to Portsmouth but says his trip ‘meant the world’ to him.

Mr. Bernard Jordan 89-year-old D-Day veteran who sneaked out of his care home to travel to Normandy returned to a hero’s welcome and declared: ‘I would do it again tomorrow.’ Hiding his war medals under a raincoat, Mr. Jordan told staff he was going for a walk before boarding a coach to France for the 70th anniversary – sparking a frantic missing person search.article-2650882-1E889F9F00000578-503_306x490

The former Royal Navy officer arrived into Portsmouth on a cross-channel ferry this morning, where he said: ‘I expect I will be in some trouble with the care home, but it was worth it.’ Mr Jordan summoned the spirit and determination of June 6, 1944, when he hatched his cunning plan to join old comrades and world leaders in remembering the assault that cost more than 4,000 Allied lives. By the time staff at the care home in Hove realised he was missing on Thursday evening, the veteran had already checked into a hotel in Ouistreham, Normandy.

The alarm was raised at 7.15pm and police began searching the area around The Pines care home, checking with hospitals, bus firms and taxi companies. Eventually the care home breathed a sigh of relief when they received a phone call from another veteran, who said he had met the former Mayor of Hove on the coach – and he would come home when he was ready. Today the Royal Navy veteran, who staff treated as the guest of honour on a ferry from Caen, said it ‘meant the world’ to be part of the anniversary. D-Day veteran 89 reported missing from his care home travelled to Normandy France for the D-Day Commemorations U-110-captured-whaler-boat-595x234HMS Bulldog’s boarding party led by Sub-Lieutenant David Balme approaches U-110…… The bulldog spirit of the ‘Senior Service.’ What has just been revealed at lunchtime today is that ‘Lieutenant’ Jordan R.N. served aboard HMS Bulldog, one of the ships that engaged and went into action against the German Submarine U-110. The U-boat was eventually captured and seized by a boarding party from HMS Bulldog on 9th May 1941 The result of which saw the capture of its code books as well as the first Top-Secret Enigma machine.   B.Z. Lt Jordan, and the veteran’s of D-Day.            Yours Aye.

Note to the Hollywood directors and writers responsible for the ‘bilge’ film U-571. The US declared war on Germany on 11th Dec 1941, seven months after the true event took place.

An example of an honourable man

‘Any fault is mine alone': How General Eisenhower planned to take full blame if D-Day had FAILED (and it could teach today’s politicians a thing or two!) This is the historic speech the free world did not want to hear – and, thankfully, didn’t. Hastily scribbled on piece of paper, Allied supremo General Dwight D. Eisenhower jotted down what he planned to say had D-Day, 70 years ago today, been a disaster. 

The little-known document, known as ‘In Case of Failure’, was quickly drafted by the commander of Operation Overlord in the event of the landings ending in bloody failure. The 66-word script reveals the U.S. general and Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill would have withdrawn the thousands of troops from the Normandy beaches rather than let them fight to the death.  The chilling speech Allied supremo General Dwight Eisenhower planned to make had D-Day turned into Doomsday, scribbled down on a notearticle-0-1E7C11DF00000578-523_634x996It also shows Eisenhower, who went on to become president in 1953, would have accepted the full blame for the unimaginable defeat at the hands of the Nazis. In the event, the Normandy landings were a success and ultimately led to the beginning of the end of the Second World War. Eisenhower gave the note to his adjutant officer five weeks after D-Day and it is has been held by the Eisenhower Presidential Library for the last 30 years. A copy of it has now been published by the British military online archive Forces War Records to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Tom Bennington, of Forces War Records, said: ‘It is a very simple document but one that is very chilling given what was at stake. ‘While Operation Overlord went down in history as a success and gave the Allies a foothold in Europe, this piece of paper almost shows how easily it could have gone the other way.’article-0-1E7709F000000578-652_306x423

The note certainly paints a picture of Eisenhower, while confident of success on D-Day, preparing for the worst case scenario as 150,000 men were preparing to land on the beaches. ‘Had he had to use these notes on D-Day it would have meant that there would have been thousands of Allied casualties lying on the beaches of Normandy. ‘It would have meant defeat for the Allies in the west and left Germany to focus all their efforts on the Russians on the Eastern Front, giving the Second World War a very different outcome. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who became President in 1953, would have carried the can if D-Day in 1944 had been a failure ‘It also would have ended Eisenhower’s career as Supreme Allied Commander and probably the end Winston Churchill’s government.’ Eisenhower was going to read the message out either to reporters or over the radio had D-Day ended in defeat.images

The text, scribbled on a scrap of paper measuring 6ins by 4ins, reads: ‘Our landings in the Cherbourg-Haver area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. ‘My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. ‘The troops, the air, and the navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.’ The message is dated ‘July’ 5, 1944 – it is thought that he wrote the wrong month in error due to exhaustion.5356b89076871It is said that before D-Day the Allied high command considered a successful landing would cost 10,000 dead. In the event, the number of deaths were about 5,000. The majority of those were on Omaha Beach which was in the American sector. Tim Rives, the deputy director of the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Kansas, US, said: ‘To think that Eisenhower was willing to take the full blame should D-Day fail is quite telling of his character. ‘It is an example of an honourable man taking responsibility. ‘Winston Churchill’s chief concern on D-Day was a bloodbath on the beaches and Eisenhower clearly felt the same as the plan was to withdraw rather than fight to the end.’ Eisenhower’s adjutant officer was Captain Harry Butcher. About a month after D-Day Eisenhower pulled this note out of his wallet and showed it to Butcher who kept it. It was donated to the library in the 1980s by his family.

Todays politicians could not hold a candle next to those of the WWII era, who were true men of honour.      Yours Aye.

D-1 The day before the invasion

article-2649518-1E7F101C00000578-938_636x382More than 650 ex-servicemen are said to have travelled to the beaches of Normandy to commemorate the invasion which changed history. A Lancaster Bomber and Spitfire performed flyovers, while current troops in vintage jeeps rode over Pegasus Bridge, the first place to be taken during the military operation which signalled the end of the Second World War. The Prince of Wales, accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall, met veterans at Cafe Gondree, the first building to be liberated by Allied forces in Nazi-occupied France. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh arrived in Paris by Eurostar ahead of tomorrow’s events, where she will be joined by Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin. Former soldiers visiting Bayeux Cemetery were overcome with emotion as they remembered their fallen comrades.  A Lancaster Bomber and a Spitfire soar over the Peagusus Bridge in Benouville, Normandy, France, as part of the 70th anniversary D-Day commemorations on both sides of the English Channel.article-0-1E7DBCAB00000578-169_964x631 A salute to the fallen men and women who liberated France. Part of the commemorations marking the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings 6th June 1944

Today 70-years ago on the day referred to as D-1, commemorations begin on both sides of the English Channel. The same day that was planned as the original date for the beach landings; postponed due to bad weather for 24-hours. A case of ‘hurry up and wait’ for the poor souls who were to land from the sea, many of which would not even make it to the beach on D-Day.             Yours Aye.

Bob Noody D-Day Veteran ready to go again

D-Day veteran from the real Band of Brothers returns to his wartime billet In England during trip to his former embarkation point, and on to his battlegrounds.1401380877153_Image_galleryImage_Mandatory_Credit_Photo_byBob Noody in the Blue Boar pub of Aldbourne, where he was stationed before D-Day 1401380679035_Image_galleryImage_Mandatory_Credit_Photo_byA former American soldier who took part in the D-Day landings has returned to Europe for the last time to visit the English village where he was stationed before the historic mission. Bob Noody was captured in a historic photograph on his way to the front in Normandy, showing him as a young man overburdened with armour and weaponry. Now the 90-year-old is set to return to the beaches of northern France to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Mr Noody has spent this week in the village of Aldbourne in Wiltshire, where he was stationed with Fox Company, part of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. D-Day-Veteran-real-Band-of-Brothers-Bob Noody-returns-to-visit-wartime-billet

Bob Noody we owe a great debt of gratitude to you and yours. You also look as though your up for it once more; fighting fit and looking good with a pint pot in your hand.       Yours Aye.

From Shakespeare’s Henry V, 1598: One of the well-known lines from his St. Crispin’s Day Speech.

‘This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.’