My Granddad and D Day 1944

#1
hi chaps, not entirely sure i'm posting this in the right place but here goes, maybe you can help me.

I've been trawling round the internet trying to find stuff on D Day as my granddad recently told me that he landed in Normandy on 6th June 1944 with his commando unit.

He was very upset telling me about it, he seems to be traumatised by it still to be honest.

However, the internet has thrown up some contradictions as to whether his unit (42 Commando) was involved in Normandy.

Can anyone tell me for sure that 42 Commando were there? I don't want to push him too much on this as my suspiscion is that he told me the wrong unit if anything.
 
#2
lapsang said:
hi chaps, not entirely sure i'm posting this in the right place but here goes, maybe you can help me.

I've been trawling round the internet trying to find stuff on D Day as my granddad recently told me that he landed in Normandy on 6th June 1944 with his commando unit.

He was very upset telling me about it, he seems to be traumatised by it still to be honest.

However, the internet has thrown up some contradictions as to whether his unit (42 Commando) was involved in Normandy.

Can anyone tell me for sure that 42 Commando were there? I don't want to push him too much on this as my suspiscion is that he told me the wrong unit if anything.
Probably ought to be in Military History but a Mod will move it for you.

He might have been detached as a COPP, Combined Operations Pilotage Party or a Beachmaster etc.

You'll get some helpful answers on here - a load of guff as well probably.
 
#4
EX_STAB said:
lapsang said:
hi chaps, not entirely sure i'm posting this in the right place but here goes, maybe you can help me.

I've been trawling round the internet trying to find stuff on D Day as my granddad recently told me that he landed in Normandy on 6th June 1944 with his commando unit.

He was very upset telling me about it, he seems to be traumatised by it still to be honest.

However, the internet has thrown up some contradictions as to whether his unit (42 Commando) was involved in Normandy.

Can anyone tell me for sure that 42 Commando were there? I don't want to push him too much on this as my suspiscion is that he told me the wrong unit if anything.
Probably ought to be in Military History but a Mod will move it for you.

He might have been detached as a COPP, Combined Operations Pilotage Party or a Beachmaster etc.

You'll get some helpful answers on here - a load of guff as well probably.
thanks for this. the look on his face when he has talked about it is something i've never seen from him in the 30 years i've known him.
 
#5
Its good that he's talking to you about it although it must be traumatic for him. Get him drunk and listen. He clearly has a story to tell and take it as a privilige that he's beginning to share this stuff with you. You owe it to him to listen. We all do.
 
#6
DeltaDog said:
42 Commando weren't there, but that's not to say your Grandad wasn't.

*Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/42_Commando
what do you think? he told me he was first on, that when the front of the landing craft cam down they were in 3 feet of water and most of his boat died. he couldn't speak much after that as he was crying. he later mentioned the clickers they were given and the letter with their number on that they signed to say they had survived.
 
#7
The_Coming_Man said:
Its good that he's talking to you about it although it must be traumatic for him. Get him drunk and listen. He clearly has a story to tell and take it as a privilige that he's beginning to share this stuff with you. You owe it to him to listen. We all do.
he's always known i'd be interested. he say my grandmother told him never to mention it (for their daughter's sake) and he said it just kind of stayed that way. he was quite ill recently i think this has got his mind thinking about it all again.
 
#8
The_Coming_Man said:
Its good that he's talking to you about it although it must be traumatic for him. Get him drunk and listen. He clearly has a story to tell and take it as a privilige that he's beginning to share this stuff with you. You owe it to him to listen. We all do.
Same with my Grandad, who fought in Burma. He never talks about it no matter how much I ask, or how pissed he gets (we get). I think the real question here is - what brand of alcohol is best recommended to get these wise old owls to spill the beans? So far I've tried;

*Old Grouse
*Kwiksave No Frills Lager (closest I ever came to getting a story)
*Stella
*Herforder Pils

These old soldiers fought for our freedom, they're probably entitled to a bit of peace and quiet. Unfortunately that entitlement may end up hiding some of the best tales ever told. :cry:
 
#9
skintboymike said:
The_Coming_Man said:
Its good that he's talking to you about it although it must be traumatic for him. Get him drunk and listen. He clearly has a story to tell and take it as a privilige that he's beginning to share this stuff with you. You owe it to him to listen. We all do.
Same with my Grandad, who fought in Burma. He never talks about it no matter how much I ask, or how pissed he gets (we get). I think the real question here is - what brand of alcohol is best recommended to get these wise old owls to spill the beans? So far I've tried;

*Old Grouse
*Kwiksave No Frills Lager (closest I ever came to getting a story)
*Stella
*Herforder Pils

These old soldiers fought for our freedom, they're probably entitled to a bit of peace and quiet. Unfortunately that entitlement may end up hiding some of the best tales ever told. :cry:
i'm desparate to know. it's always stirred something deep in me what they all went through for us. when he told me he was there my bitterness towards people who say it's all irrelevant increased 10 fold
 
#10
One thing has to be remembered, its over 60 years ago, things can and do become muddled, his experiences may have been somewhere else, not saying in anyway that he didnt experience them, just that they may have been some other time and place.

He may have his Commando mixed up, rather than anything else. 42 didnt serve in Europe.
 
#11
scarletto said:
One thing has to be remembered, its over 60 years ago, things can and do become muddled, his experiences may have been somewhere else, not saying in anyway that he didnt experience them, just that they may have been some other time and place.

He may have his Commando mixed up, rather than anything else. 42 didnt serve in Europe.
Or he may have been detached, or served in different units at different times etc.
 
#12
Individual were attached, detached, sent here, there and everywhere. Just because 42 were his parent unit doesn't mean he wasn't there. He could have been a last minute reinforcement and so on. It was a manic time for all units.

Didn't RM man the LCU's that took the Americans onto Omaha? I remember one guy watching his entire complement of Yanks get mown down as they lowered the ramp.

The more I hear about what those guys went through, the more admiring and deeply humble and grateful I become.
 
#13
lapsang said:
hi chaps, not entirely sure i'm posting this in the right place but here goes, maybe you can help me.

I've been trawling round the internet trying to find stuff on D Day as my granddad recently told me that he landed in Normandy on 6th June 1944 with his commando unit.

He was very upset telling me about it, he seems to be traumatised by it still to be honest.

However, the internet has thrown up some contradictions as to whether his unit (42 Commando) was involved in Normandy.

Can anyone tell me for sure that 42 Commando were there? I don't want to push him too much on this as my suspiscion is that he told me the wrong unit if anything.
HAHA hes a walt.
 
#14
Try to get him to talk somehow.

When I was about ten my uncle told me he was with the Gloucesters in Korea and that he was at both Monte Casino and the relief of Arnhem. I was too young to be interested and he died a short time later. Years after I found a cap badge which, I think (it was 50 years ago!) featured a sphinx but I don't remember the wreath underneath. There was also a WD Dutch phrase book. Both of which are long gone...

Was he at Imjin River? I'll probably never know.
 
#16
attractiveboy said:
lapsang said:
hi chaps, not entirely sure i'm posting this in the right place but here goes, maybe you can help me.

I've been trawling round the internet trying to find stuff on D Day as my granddad recently told me that he landed in Normandy on 6th June 1944 with his commando unit.

He was very upset telling me about it, he seems to be traumatised by it still to be honest.

However, the internet has thrown up some contradictions as to whether his unit (42 Commando) was involved in Normandy.

Can anyone tell me for sure that 42 Commando were there? I don't want to push him too much on this as my suspiscion is that he told me the wrong unit if anything.
HAHA hes a walt.
i cant remember what I did last week so give the man a break.
 
#17
skintboymike said:
These old soldiers fought for our freedom, they're probably entitled to a bit of peace and quiet. Unfortunately that entitlement may end up hiding some of the best tales ever told. :cry:
Only now are we finding out what it was like for them. With the campaigns we have going on abroad at the moment, we are all keen to learn from those who've already been through similar.

Unfortunately, it's a bit late in many cases. As that generation are few and far between. In comparison to the numbers involved in the Second World War, the troops involved now are a spit in the ocean. In their day they'd all been through similar it was the norm.

Those that went through WWII, survived and did their time, just came back and had to try and pick up where they left off in civvy street. No big deal was made of it. it wasn't the "done thing" to talk about it either. That's how it was for that generation.

My maternal Grandfather was CPO in the RN during the war. IIRC he was sunk a few times(?) but never talked about it. He contracted malaria in Mombassa and used to rant and rave when fevered; that's the only time I ever heard him "talk" about the war.

Paternal Grandfather saw service in both wars but died a few years before I was born. He succcumbed to drink afterwards, unable to work due to embedded shrapnel and medals not worth a sook.

Like many families we lost a few rellys in both wars.

My father's cousin and him used to get bladdered talking over their National Service experiences, but his cousin's dad was buried in France since '44.

Uncles that did Korea and Aden (A&SH), etc don't talk about it either. mention Mad Mitch and that's adiff story though!!

Hindsight eh?

Arrsers, if you have grandparents, get chatting to them they have a wealth of knowledge.

Good luck fella.

p.s. sorry to ramble but this thread hit a chord.
 
#18
My Grandad fought in France with the RAC, but refused his medals and has never spoken about the war. As I understand it, he was tank crew and served in several vehicles including the Churchill Crocodile (flamethrower tank). Christ only knows what he must have seen...
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#19
42(RM)Commando was formed in 1942 out of 1RM (which had had a free sea trip to Dakar and back without landing there). After training in Llanybyther in Wales and Duns in Scotland and elsewhere, 42 was shipped East in mid-1943. It missed 1st Arakan because it was stuck in Alexandria after its troopship was bombed. 44 was already there and some of 42's people were transferred to 44. If we hadn't nuked the nips both Cdos would have been on the Zipper invasion of Malaya and a lot more wouldn't have come home. By then they had already had a bout with the japs in Burma. For instance at one point the Japs staked out a badly wounded Royal in a clearing as bait with 3 machine guns trained on him.

42 doesn't seem to have a war history but there is a book about 44. 1RM's foundign and adventures at home were written up in 'To the War with Waugh' by John St John.
 
#20
The_Coming_Man said:
The more I hear about what those guys went through, the more admiring and deeply humble and grateful I become.
I get shaky watching Saving Private Ryan and playing Medal Of Honour, so I'm going to have to agree with you wholeheartedly!
 
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