Grandads letters

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Hitch, Feb 18, 2010.

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  1. I recently had an amazing stroke of good luck when wartime letters from my Grandfather, an officer in 1 Bn Border Regt, were offered to me having been out of the family for decade. Grandad died in 1995 and I never really knew him as I should, but I have already learnt so much through reading his letters. He fought in Oosterbeek during Market Garden and it seems he didn't want to talk about that.

    What I did discover was that during Op HUSKEY his glider had crashed into the sea 5 miles from Sicily and spent 7 1/2 hours in the Med before being rescued.

    After the war he felt badly treated by the Labour government and wrote that he wanted to give them a piece of his mind:

    "...I often feel like gathering all the badly done-to ex servicemen around me and marching with them to the House and making every rotten and inefficient MP listen to every mans story and grievance and not leaving the place until they had passed Bill after Bill allowing us our due rights in the country for which we gave so much and got so little."

    Sound familiar?
  2. Just read another classic that Grandad wrote to my Grandmother from Italy:

    "I hope the Yanks are not sweeping you off your feet with their 'Bla'(??) because they have nothing to 'Bla' about. You should hear them over here, it is pathetic and all I can say for them is thank God they have Great Britain fighting for them!!"
  3. Not sure of your perspective Hitch? Are you saying his views illustrate actual history or fly in the face of Hollywood’s version?

    Sicily WAS the biggest armada of WWII and, perhaps inevitably, a number of things did go wrong. In his recent TV history, and IMHO pretty good summary of generalised points, Andrew Marr was careful to refer to Normandy as the ‘greatest’ armada. In terms of initial assault, men and all craft, Sicily was bigger than Normandy, but if you consider such as the preparation effort and follow-up then fairly Normandy can be taken as the ‘greater’ undertaking. In the same vein Normandy was the invasion of ‘western’ Europe but NOT the invasion of Europe which took place the year before. ;)

    The reference to US forces needs be put into relevant context, i.e. in or out of combat, or both? Re post war Britain, as if fighting the Axis and propping-up others doing the same was not devastating enough for our resources, as soon as the war ended Uncle Spam simply pulled the plug on finance which left us even worse off. :omg:

  4. chrisg46

    chrisg46 LE Book Reviewer

    You mean like The Marshall Plan?
  5. No, nothing to do with the Marshall Plan. More to do with the pleasantly named Lease Lend, aka 'buy now-pay later' and the ‘loans’ Britain had to have to maintain their game. We never got anything without an invoice, don’t delude yourself, Uncle Spam was the only one who made a fortune out of WWII, but if you rely on wiki bollox................ :roll:

    When Spam boss Truman said 'war's over you can all do one now, and don't forget the money you owe us ;) ', to varying degrees we (as in Europe, which is what counts), were totally poleaxed, as in skint, wrecked infrastructure and markets, but, had to rebuild or submit to Stalin and the Sovie way. We were being asked for £3½ Billion (in 1945 money, not 2010 money). As Spam had a sh1t load of profit, when Britain was given her invoice, our top economist, John Maynard Keynes, went to the US to argue our case for, at best, a gift of some of these profits, or at worst an interest free loan of up to $8 Billion – about £2 Billion in real money. He got neither.

    Spam Public Opinion polls at the time showed @ 60% of Septics were against even a loan for Britain, as we were Imperialists and now Socialists (Attlee Labour government). ”Gee Marm, I’m real glad we’re not Imperialists, you know, like wanting to control the world.” “That’s quite right Elmer. Why it would be just like being nazis, invading other peoples countries and killing them till we got our own way. D’you want some more pie honey, you’ve only had 14 pieces this morning?”

    Despite the acclaimed excellence of clarity, truth, economics and logic Keynes expounded for three days, it took three months for Uncle Spam to agree only to a loan of under $4 Billion – with interest. And, the British Exchange Controls (our prevailing Gold Standard) had to go within 12 months. Britain finally paid off this ‘wonderful’ loan at the end of 2006.

    So the Septics danced around their little insulated boom world raking it in. Uncle Joe, meanwhile, had no intention going home but saw the Med and Western Europe as easy pickings for his Soviet – he already had the East and most of the centre. Britain was in no position to take on the Sovies and continued to struggle to keep its head above water including such measures as dismantling what was left of the Empire and dwindling its Armed Forces.

    Bevin eventually told the Septics we were pulling out of Greece and Turkey which would mean them going Red, and if their ‘Intelligence’ hadn’t already advised them, France and Italy looked poised to follow. You’re welcome to believe the spin bollox about Uncle Spam stepping in to help his European ancestors, but the reality is if they let Europe go totally Red, all Western Europe had to offer would go to Uncle Joe and Uncle Spam would, at a stroke, lose a major market for all the production over capacity they had built-up since 1940. And, as for all their European markers paying dividends, why they’d have to collect from Uncle Joe – like he’d pay, and what were they going to do about it if he didn’t, as in SFA and they knew it.

    Rather than take on the Sovies big time, it was much cheaper and more profitable, long term, to listen to what Europe had been pointing out to them for years, and restore their markets there and develop new ones. The Septics were awash with money so it wasn’t any great hardship for them, (it’s not like they intended to initiate some US National Health scheme :roll: ), but behind the spin was strewed investment to net further returns and increase their sphere of influence. You can be naïve enough to imagine these ‘gifts’ were in the nature of ‘here’s a few million, the ship with the gold will arrive next week, enjoy!’, or plough through the myriad of deals where facilities or goods were provided on condition that they were, of course, American and all the other ‘little’ conditions were agreed and observed which, again, served the interests of Uncle Spam. Buy hey, look on the bright side, you don’t go Red :D

    So no chrisg46, I do not mean like the Marshall Plan.


  6. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    Don't hold back now No.9. If you have something to say then get it out :D
  7. It's called 'history' Yin, what was over what someone want's it to have been ;)

  8. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    I think it was called 'news' in my day :D
  9. To be fair though, we went back cap in hand a few times.The US govt was a bit miffed thet the Attlee govt kept blowing all of the loans on things like the NHS (where they massively underestimated the demand for it's services), when the rest of Europe who also received monies, were rebuilding their industries and infrastructure.
  10. Didn't some of the tugs drop their tows early in Husky?. Notably US pilots IIRC.

    Waiting to be shot down on dodgy memory.
  11. That's true whiffler.
  12. Very true No. 9, this is a part of the "special relationship" that most people are unaware of! There were also conditions in the "lease lend" deal that Britain had to agree to let the colonies have their "freedom" as well, the yanks did not want Britain continuing to be an IMPERIALIST nation. Indeed if Japan had not attacked Pearl Harbour, it is debateable whether America would have joined the war against Hitler at all! There was an active anti war movement in the states before that, bearing in mind also that there were a large number of Americans with German ancestry who were very pro Hitler.
    The "special relationship", harped on about by Blair before & during the invasion of Iraq, resulted in few if any contracts for the rebuilding of Iraq coming to the UK! It would appear to be a very one sided "relationship"!
  13. chrisg46

    chrisg46 LE Book Reviewer

    Oh ok. Just thought i would ask 8)
  14. Auld-Yin - I think it was called 'news' in my day :D "

    Mine too, or perhaps 'education' as I was never taught it. But, I don't think my teachers had any idea either? In fact it only seems to have quietly 'spilled' into general knowledge since our war reparations, sorry debt, was paid off at the end of 2006 :omg: .

    It's as if someone in the Treasury made some comment like 'I'm glad that's paid off', and others said 'what's that then?'. A few years ago Chris Meyer presented a docu on this specific subject. Meyer was a career diplomat from 1966 and our Ambassador to the US from 1997 to 2003. In the programme he states he never knew??? So, an active cover-up, or just something not spoken of???

  15. ancienturion

    ancienturion LE Book Reviewer

    I was once told of a loan which Great Britain made to the USA in the nineteenth century which, apparently, was never repaid. Don't know if there is any truth in it.