Friday, 6 June 2014


D-DAY SHOULD BE REMEMBERED
A World War 11 poster from the Home Front

I woke this morning  with an unfamiliar news report on Today on Radio 4. It told of the allied landings on the Normandy beaches in a voice that I certainly didn't recognise. But then I realised it was D-Day. And the item that snatched me from my slumber was the voice of an actor reading in measured tones the script of the  news report of invasion across the channel 70 years ago. I am old enough to remember World War 11 and the bloody battles and bombing raids, and young enough not to have served in the conflict. My grandchildren, Hugh, six, and Joseph, five, looked a bit non-plussed  when I asked on their return from school if anything was mentioned about what is probably the greatest day in Britain's history since we defeated the Armada in 1588 and the battles of Trafalgar and Waterloo. Now, at their tender years, I guess such a historic moment in time would have gone over their heads, and I can only assume in this less
D-Day plus 70 years is digging for treasure for  the boys
jingoistic age it was not thought a subject to merit the curriculum. Which is a tad sad when kids - not here I must add - will spend hours on screens playing violent games that make real war more like a Sunday school outing! Anyone whose early schooldays took in the years 1939 to 1945 will remember the conflict as a bit of an adventure worthy of Biggles. Youngsters felt none of the fear of their parents as nights were spent cowering in a shelter in the blitz as bombs rained down and shells burst overhead. I still have razor sharp shards of  metal that dropped from the sky from  exploding shells. It was collected as we walked  the three miles to school - much of it still  hot - from the night raid. And I recall my frustration of a daylight raid when my dad refused to allow me  from the shelter beneath living room window to let me watch as  fighter planes weaved in the sky above in mortal combat. Still. that was then and the world has changed, a peace that began when heroes stormed the Normandy beaches is to be preferred than the rattle of battle. So long as we remember the fallen and survivors of that longest day and, hopefully, somewhere in their school years youngsters will catch up with history that is still real to many. 

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