A little nugget about a local key player on the success of D-Day landings.
Group Captain James Martin Stagg honoured in Dalkeith - Midlothian View
Here goes. I had been estranged from my family for around 25 years for various reasons that lead to us changing our name to Sue's family name rather than mine. But in late November a couple of years ago I got a telephone call from my niece saying that my dad wanted to see me, she, unknown to us, had been his carer. On the 12th of November 2017 I drove over to Heptonstall to meet up with them both, dad was in a coma. My niece told me what he had said to her regarding things that had occurred over the years and my heart was broken. I realised that I loved this daft old bloke and as I sat by his bed I held his hand and told him so. They say that when in a coma the hearing is the last part to go, I swear that as I asked for forgiveness and offered mine, he squeezed my hand and died 2 hours later.
Which leads me to this rather cathartic moment. Because of my nieces close involvement she was unable to go through the stuff that was left. Among all the detritus of nearly a century's life there was his war story.
He was in the Royal Corps Of Signals, and because he was fluent in both French and German (why, who knows) he was seconded to the Canadiens and later to the 51st Highland Division. When the mass evacuation of Dunkirk occurred the 51st were ordered to stay behind as a rearguard. Most were either captured or killed, but because of his language skills, my dad was gathered up by the French resistance and was based just outside Caen. He was wounded by a mortar shell and that is as much as we know, but. A couple of years before he died he was sought out by a French Lady. It appears that she was writing a book and it was her family that kept my dad in their attic, and we have since been in touch with her (she is now 83) and some of the gaps have been filled including the strange medal that was among his belongings.
Having seen on TV the stuff going on today, I have shed more than one tear, for a dad that I lost a quarter of a century ago and for one that I found plus all those who gave me the freedom to write this.
For our todays, they gave all their tomorrows.
image0.jpgDad_n.jpgMy Dad stan pic.jpg
Thank you dad for me, your grandson and great granddaughter and those who still live because of your small bit of the war.
Last edited by oppy; 15-06-2019 at 19:20.
Nice one peter
Voyage and Training - Chindit Chasing, Operation Longcloth 1943
I remember as a kid we took my grandmother to visit the house she lived in at Catterick Garrison, while my granddad was off fighting on the continent. Menin Road, Catterick. I stopped there again a few years ago, it's all been sold off by the MOD and is now all private housing. 75 years ago my grandfather bade goodbye to his wife and three children including my 5 month old mother and walked down this road to take part in an invasion of the continent knowing full well he might never get to see his family again. I'm in awe of the courage of that generation.
Finally on a funny note my grandmother recalled a time during the war when her sisters got the train up from Liverpool. They all went out and got pissed in Catterick and then sneaked under the wire to take a short cut across the garrison. Yes, a gang of drunken scallies from Liverpool sneaking across an army base during the war. I'm surprised they weren't shot!
Last edited by oppy; 06-06-2019 at 21:23.
When life gives you lemons, add them to your gin & tonic
Y'know we all of us here owe a great deal of thanks to those who died for us. Whilst some of us do not appreciate the concept of war, it is still a very real part of what leads us to be the generation that complains about all kinds of stuff, but thanks to those who died for this freedom, we still have the freedom so to do
My father and grandfather never talked about the war. They were both in the Merchant Navy. They came from a town that lost more men than any other in the UK because of the number of MN seamen. I sometimes feel that they were the forgotten ones. They sailed, barely armed, up to Russia, across the Atlantic and through the Mediterranian and if their ship was torpedoed or sunk their pay was stopped immediately. They didn't get their names on war memorials or were given medals (although a Russian convoy medal is now available) but just had to get on with the job of clearing up at the end.
Last edited by antiquesam; 07-06-2019 at 06:01.
My old man rarely talked about the war. He did mention few bits, one was when in North Africa, after battle they’d scavenge as much as possible. Anyway after one battle he and a mate got their hands on a Opel Blitz truck, chucked a few beds in the back and it became what he called his first motorhome.
my grandfather lost his leg first day in France and was later a guard at the Nuremberg trials , where he stole the ceremonial daggers and swords off the defendants as they were called to the dock . i played with them as a kid , but they were stolen after he died by my alcoholic step-grandmother's american boyfriend .my father ,exRN petty officer also had a collection of weapons he'd brought back. i once saw him shoot a duck on the Thames with a Lee Enfield 303 , it just disappeared completely
too blessed to be stressed
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