Old Soldier

#1
This isn't a rant, no outrage bus required, and no doubt somebody will take the p1ss, but what the h$ll.

Sat in our local shopping mall, the other day, waiting for the boss lady to come out of a shop.

Sat next to me was a rather elderly gent and we got chatting.

He was/is 94 years old, born and bred in our town, his dad was killed in the early days of WW1, probably one of the "Old Contemptibles", and was bought up by gran while mum went out to work.

He joined the Royal Artillery in 1932 and served through to 1945.

He is a Dunkirk Veteran, (showed me his card), then went on to serve in the desert, Sicily and Italy, going all the way up to Austria.

"Just another old war-horse" you might say, but what struck me was his dignity and the fact that he felt lucky for the life he lived, even after all he went through.

I was humbled to be in his company and wonder if anybody else has a similar experience of meeting one of our Veterans who have actually "walked the walk"?
 
#3
Its a club that will not increase its membership, it's a privilege to talk to those who were there.
 

maninblack

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
I had the pleasure of meeting Gp. Capt. (Retd) Sir Hugh Dundas and his main area of pride was that he, a boy from Doncaster, had risen to be head of Pengun Books.
 
#5
Carried the Regimental Colour on a Dunkirk Vets parade many years ago. We were given the order to march on and had to march vitually the full length of the parade to get into position. They were formed in four ranks, medals gleaming and chins up. Before then old soldiers were chaps to chat to 'cos I was interested in what they had to say, since then I have a very differant view.

The booze up afterwards was something else as well.
 
#6
Was treated by my missus to a war graves tour in Holland and Belgium etc. On the return coach this side of the channel my wife got chatting to a middle-aged lady. My missus dragged me into the conversation by saying I had recently left the AAC having done 9 years. I grunted and tried to get a bit of shuteye when an elderly chap who had overheard my missus asked me what I had been in. He said he had been in WW2 and was a former POW of the Japs. I immediately sat upright and shook his hand. He then chatted for the next hour or so and my attention never wavered for one second. As the coach arrived at our drop-off point I stood up and shook this chaps hand thnaking him for what he had done and i felt truly humbled in the presence of a hero.
 
#7
Why would we take the urine?We owe chap's like these gratitude & humility.They've been there done it,wrote the book & printed the bloody tee-shirt!
And the wars they fought & conditions they endured were far worse than what we face now!
They deserve our respect.
Nuff said.
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#8
Whilst working for SSAFA I've met a few veterans of:

Burma Railway
Dunkirk
HMS Cornwall (Not the last episode but this one HMS Cornwall WW2) He spent nearly 24 hours in the water before being rescued
Fighting from Normandy to Hamburg (wondered where he was eligible for help as he only served from 1939 -45!!!!)
Old dears who worked at Bletchley Park

Father in Law was a Chindit.

The list could go on.
 
#9
once more unto the beach

this has been posted on another forum I visit.

The Final Battle - it is now our turn.

“Help us make one last journey to our D-Day beaches in honour of our fallen”, plead veterans.

First the back ground to this campaign and then how to make payment and some case studies

The Normandy Veterans Association, or NVA for short, wants to raise £300,000. This would enable them to send at least 1000 veterans back to the invasion beaches for the 65th anniversary of D-Day, June 6th 2009. They want to be able to stand along side their fellow US and Canadian brothers in arms. For most this will be their last time as age and health is taking its toll.

You might think the British government would pay for our war heroes to return, after all, they helped save the free world? Unfortunately and sadly this is not the case. The USA and Canadian governments have promised funding for their veterans to return. They are paying for them to travel thousands of miles. The round trip from New York to Paris is at least 7,270 miles. If coming from the west coast of the USA then it is an 11,332 round trip.

The British government is refusing to pay for veterans to cross, what is in some cases just 24 miles of water to France.
 
#10
I read this post and have to agree with all said above, I dont think that anyone will be taking the urine. I have met/talked with some Old Soldiers from WW11 (not Many) Korea (National Service), NI, Falklands, FRY & Gulf episodes, we owe them a debt of Gratitude that in most cases can not be paid.
The Gentlemen & Ladies who served in the past earn our thanks & best wishes as most of them will live with their memories of those days until they join the comrades they left behind, I include Ladies as a number served in Units that were faced with hardships that we today can only imagine.
The memories that these People carry with them are in some cases harrowing, but talk to them and they think they are lucky, in a number of conversations I have seen the 1000yd stare cross the face of the person I am talking to, you can almost see the faces of friends &/or comrades in their eyes.
I find it a honour that I have had the chance to talk to Men & Women who have walked the walk, I hope I prove to have been worthy of their sacrifice
 
#11
I will always be ashamed of the fact that just about the only question I remember asking my Grandfather about his war srvice was whether he shot someone. He was ex Monmouthsire Infantry, involved at Normandy and took one in the shin which left a nice scar but still allowed him to be a good sportsman post war. I know that my Aunt is still humbled thinking about how she took him back to Normandy not long before he died. He'll always be a hero in my eyes.
 
#12
I've met a few veterans.
I'm thinking of an excellent soldier who gets ignored the country he's fought for, feels let down by an underfunded and badly run MoD. Who finds it difficult to ft into a country obsessed with televison mongery and chavball scumminess.
He doesn't complain, much, and just soldiers on because it's just what he does.
And he'll be enjoying his 21st birthday next week.
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#13
Mentioned above that the FIL was a Chindit & did both patrols. He never spoke about the jungle to his family.
When told him I had volunteered for the AACC, all he said was 'Never volunteer'.
However when I had passed he started telling me things about his time in Burma, how he hated Americans with a vengence (I think it was Stillwell he hated most) & how the hardest thing he every had to do was a leave an injured colleague behind with only a pistol & then when they after they were gone hearing a single shot.
 
#14
I feel the only thing that takes the p!ss is the generations that have inherited their 'rights' and 'freedoms' from the likes of the old and bold when serving one's country meant fighting for one's survival and way of life kitted out with ammo boots, bolt action rifle and boyonet!

God bless them all!!!
 
#15
I was at a dinner about a year back and I was lucky enough to be sat opposite a chelsear pensioner; he was badly wounded in North Africa when the fuel truck he was driving was blown up. You could still see the horrendous scarring coming through above his collar and out of his cuffs. Apparently he has an impression where the buckle of his stable belt branded him. I was speechless, humbled into silence, what do you say to someone who has experienced that?

The thought of what the people endured for us makes my skin crawl and brings a lump to my throat. But regardless of this I am struck by the humility, humour and funnily enough, "normal-ness" of all the veterens I've come across. How they came through it I don't know - they are certainly stronger than me. Unfortunately they number fewer by the day; appreciate them while you still can.
 
#16
On a school trip to Normandy when I was 11, I had the inestimable privilege of meeting Major John Howard when we went to Pegasus Bridge, he was visiting the owners of the cafe Gondre but was good enough to come on our coach and give us a short talk on what happened, they showed a segment from the Longest Day and then he told us how it differed in reality. A true hero!
 
#17
Nothing to take the piss out of. I'm the son of a Bocage, Arnhem, Rhine Crossing, Ardennes and Germany drive veteran. His Father was a battlefield commission in WW1.

Treasure what we have, before it's gone.
 
#18
I worked in a hospital (long term care NHS hospital filled mainly by older people). I was changing a lightbulb outside a guys room when I heard him talking to one of the cleaners about playing football. I went in to see what his chat was and it turned out he was called up to the KOSB and was a veteran of both Dunkirk and Normandy. You could see the pride in his eyes and he smiled simply because i knew who the KOSB were - I can only assume he had run ins with people who didnt even know what it was short for. I asked him about his time in the army etc and while laughing he told me how he remembered times when they would come to a bridge and would be ordered to go down the bank, through the water, and up the opposite bank as opposed to simply crossing the bridge... he said civilians would be standing watching and wondering why the hell they didnt just go over the bridge.

Unfortunately he died not long after that.
 
#19
No one on here should take the piss mate, those old boys were all young once and they served their country well, we should treat them with respect and be proud of them.

We live in Normandy and have been very fortunate to meet many Veterans of the Battle of Normandy, mostly American (due to our location) but also many British, Canadian and German also. More than 60 of them have visited our house as we live direcly behind Utah Beach.

On many occasions I have accompanied Veterans to the places where they fought and stood listening to them re-live the battles they fought in, it is very moving but also very awe-inspiring, what they had to go through as Infantrymen, Tankers and Medics in the Normandy fighting cannot be even imagined by any of us.

If you meet a WW2 Veteran take the time to talk to him, he won't be around forever, the army hasn't changed as much as you think in the last 64 years, listen to them they can still teach you a thing or two!

Regards,

Steve

P.S. The photo is of Percy Moss RA, knocked out a Panther at Rauray in July 44, the Panther was crashing through a hedgreow under 100metres away, Percy engaged with the 6Pounder and it took 5 shots of AP to knock it out, most of the gun crew were wounded including Percy.
 

Attachments

Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#20
I agree with all of the above.

I have had the pleasure to speak to some old boys at our regimental day, our regimental rememberance day and at a couple of things i've been involved in at The Royal Hospital Chelsea.

Very humbling and i have a lot of time for them. My grandfather and great grandfather had both served with my regiment my grandfather having been involved at Nijmegan Bridge. He never once spoke about what he did, except loosing a deck of 100 fags he'd left under the floorboard of his tank when it was taken away to be put in a museum and he never got them back.
 

Latest Threads

Top