D-Day 6th June 1944

This day in 1944 3 of my uncles and my father moved towards the Normandy coast.

My uncles were in the Army. my father in the Royal Navy.

All had to hold for 24 hours, waiting for the weather to clear a bit. For the waves to get down below 6 feet so the DD tanks could be launched.

Luckily all 4 came through. They survived, despite the mines, shells and machine guns, but they were all changed.

As a child I remember both my grandmothers remarking that their sons were changed. Then I didn't understand. They were just my uncles and my father. Now I do.

Some who survive come through almost unscathed. Others don't.

Take my uncle Bill for instance. In 1942 he was a 1st year medical student. in 1943 he was "called up". Because he was useless in basic training with a rifle and because of his educational background, they made him a medic. He went in on the second wave and had to pick up the damaged, the torn apart and the bits of people on those beaches.

He did it. He continued to do it through to the end of the war in Europe. They even gave him a medal for bravery under fire, but it took it's toll.

My maternal grandmother always maintained that she sent her son to war and got someone else back. She still loved him, but she never quite understood him any more. Strangely, my mother said something similar after I came back from my first active posting.

The survivors are never quite the same. Some are harder hit than others and that is my point.

Today we have many coming back, whole in body, but damaged in mind.

In my father's day, you had to cope. In my day, there was some help but today?

15 years ago there was a fair degree of assistance for the returned. Now! With the various cutback in UK and, as far as I can gather USA too, the help for these veterans has reduced drastically.

So to the point of this blog.

The returned, both male and female, have given all they can and more to keep you safe in your comfortable existence. Now it's your turn.

Help them. Fight for help for them to get the help to be able to re-integrate into your society, because without them your life would be very different.

Recommend0 recommendations

Published in Senior Chatters

Comments

  1. Maize

    Totally and absolutely agree Way…I too come from a family who saw service……some family members never returned, and those who did come back were changed forever.

    We must never forget the debt we owe to those who gave so much for us to live free from oppression and fear.
    Mxx

  2. starlette

    Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome i believe is what your talking about Way………so very many young men taking their life daily because of it……….thankfully it is now being recognised……. the son of one of the members of a band in which my grandson plays took his life after returning from Afghanistan ……….since then the band have raised £7000 for the cause……..and after attending the inquest on the young man’s death, his family have been successful in bringing about positive changes.

    1. roseinbloom

      Starlette, I just remember hearing about shell shock. This blog also reminds me that England and Europe were greatly more devastated by WW2 than the US.

        1. roseinbloom

          Starlette, the soldiers were not given and are not given enough support for emotional damage. Mental illness issues were and are just ignored and unfunded.

  3. sunsip

    After being married for over twenty years to a long time army man I know there are many things he never spoke about, and maybe I am glad he never, but when he actively tried to discourage our son for from joining up a parents unconditional and protective love said it all for me.
    Sometimes the unspoken words says it all, just my view……………

  4. rodger

    I am with you Way. I would like to add something that is always fresh in my memory as I was there. In June 1940 an estimated 9000 people lost their lives in Quiberon Bay near St Nazaire when the troopship Lancastria was destroyed: This is a ‘State Secret” and cannot be revealed until 2040. Meanwhile, thousands of families ignore what happened to their loved ones. I have tried to find out what happened to a squad of ATS who were in our signal office but without success. You can find out quite a few details on the net under HMT LANCASTRIA. Lest We Forget!

  5. georgia

    Way, bless you for serving, and bless for reminding us of what has been sacrificed.
    WWII. Long family history of those who served. Yes, they ‘continued on’, made a success of their lives.
    Vietnam. We lived it, saw it unfold on national television. We saw the protests, saw our servicemen being spit on, called baby killers when they returned.
    Iraq and Afghanistan. You opened my eyes to the broken limbs, broken minds.
    Hate to admit, but I did scoff at PTSD. My dad, my uncles, only 2 left now. I admired their stoic stance. Admired while I watched the tears, the drinking.
    You just have to make me think, don’t ya Way. xx

  6. ozzybloke

    Way, in this country the Vietnam Vets had to help themselves cope with the aftermath of that conflict. I know many who went down with PTSD and one returned serviceman instrumental in setting up the support group. All the while politicians turned their backs on them…and still do to a large extent, while illegal entrants get welfare dollars thrown at them. Disgusting state of affairs.

  7. nmod

    Powerful words Way ,and so true to say that a soldier forsakes his own freedom and way of life for the rest of us .

  8. brummieliz

    Thank you Way for sharing that with us. Just ashort story I would like to share too, last year I stayed at the Queen Elizabeth hospital for 3 weeks, I stayed in my mothers room there while she waa dieing. Her room wason the 9th floor and opposite was the building where the helicopter pad was, I spent many hours watching through the window, many many a time I saw it land and most of the casualties were soldiers, as the hospital was where they brought them after being flown in from Afriganistan. And too many times I looked down tothe ground level and saw ythe stretcher stopped while resuscitation was given, once on the pedestrian crossing. I thought how could we treat these boys and girs like this, give yjem the privacy they deserved..walking the corridors at night, I used to bump into some of them, limbs missing, hald a face blown off but not one bitter word escaped thier lips. Yes Way, they did earn our respect, help, as those did in all other wars

  9. roseinbloom

    Waylander, your blog should remind you not to sweat the small stuff like for example the title length. We do have a place to share important stuff and we have the luxury of internet service.Freedom to speak is not to be taken for granted but a right fought for many times.

  10. lani36

    Way like many of the chatters, writing here ,i applaud your effort, and all other servicemen , in both w.w.1.and w.w.2, Korea ,Vietnam, and now Afghanistan,these young lads go away boys and come back Men, some broken, some do not return , and those that do are very often suffering for the rest of their lives, I too like many others have had family severely injured limbs shot off, head wounds of which they never recovered, i don t think many of our age group fail to remember, the uselessness of wars, and how it decimates life and limb. God rest their souls…lest we forget ..

  11. lani36

    think it apropriate to place this here, Billys song…

    Where has Billy gone
    Where has Billy gone
    Gone to desert sands
    Gun and rifles in his hands
    A uniform of khaki
    A helmet on his head
    His Mothers eyes all teary
    And a heart that,s full of dread
    Billy was A brave young man
    He held his head up high
    Didn,t realise his comrades
    And his life was nigh
    The bomb it just exploded
    Blew the tank awry
    Where has Billy gone
    He,s gone to heaven with the saints
    That,s where Billy,s gone
    A hero in his Mother,s eyes
    A hero way back home
    An example of the best in youth
    That,s where hero,s go….

    God bless all the billy,s who gave their lives in all theatres of war. Lest we forget.

  12. Debbie4958

    Thanks Way for you blog. I too applaud all the servicemen who went to war for all of us. Some who physically returned but mentally hurt forever, others with injures that will remind them forever what they went through. For the poor families of the fallen soldiers who will never return but will live on in their hearts forever. My dad was a returned soldier as well as many uncles. My mum was in the army as well. My dad was quite violent as well but my mum used to say that he was never like that before the war. Many of my clients today at work have PTSS. I spend a lot of time with them counselling, listening and trying to help where I can. Many of my men clients have a lot of challenging behaviours now due to their war experiences. Some of my clients are not just soldiers but there are the innocent ones who war left its filth upon. Many of my women clients sit with me and talk of the horrors they saw and witnessed not only for themselves but for their families as well. I struggle to understand how these things can happen but they did and it saddens me. I can’t do a lot to help but I can be an ear and a shoulder for them to cry on if needed. Lest We Forget.

  13. starlette

    Debbie, i’m sure your being there to listen is a great help…………must be or your client’s wouldn’t be opening up to you……..the scars will never heal……..but maybe talking things through helps a little….x

  14. missellie

    way
    my dad served in Korea, also a medic and on the front lines…they slept at night under the tanks…. my grandmother told me once that my father was not the same man who went away to war…..He came back an ugly abusive drunk… he and my mother were only married for four days before he went to Korea….maybe if he had had help he needed when he came home things would have been so much different for us all….these stories are a constant reminder to us all that the price of freedom is one that cannot be counted up on any tally sheet……our soldiers deserve so much better

  15. KayBee

    Way, thanks for your sharing your insightful and compassionate thoughts on this subject, and a little of your personal/family story.
    It was also good for me to read everyone’s comments, makes me stop and reflect.
    We just never know what scars people are carrying, so let us try to be patient and kind whenever possible.

  16. chloe7

    Thanks Way for your insightful comments about what war does to young men. I too had a soldier husband who went away a 19 year old to conflict not name a war, but it certainly was Aden and Northern ireland. Sleeping when they could on the streets, in burned out buildings, being given pills to keep them awake, no proper meals just sweets and chocolate for the first 6 weeks before the catering services were set up. He definitely was a changed man when he came back, the sites they see and the things they were asked to do at such a young age is bound to effect even the strongest bravest of men. There are still ex servicemen still homeless living on the streets, governments do not really care about the sacrifice these boys gave, they only care about these boys being willing to do their dirty work. If leaders of nations were prepared to talk more and be prepared to give and take and see things from points of view other than their own selfish needs, then our young men would not have to go and sort their mess out for them. If leaders of nations are not prepared to fight for their beliefs then they should not be asking the young men of those nations to fight their battles for them./ END OF RANT.

  17. starlette

    Chloe, I never knew until recently all the atrocities that took place in Northern Ireland….. To me the troubles were just something that came on the news….not really anything to do with me…..but I now speak with some one daily who lives there…had my eyes opened I can tell you……not really my type of book to read…but I will now aquirei some books on the troubles. but been advised to read both sides of the story..

  18. waylander Post author

    Sorry Star, only just got back to this one.

    There are 3 sides you must read about. Protestant, Catholic and Army.

    Many books have been written from the Protestant and Catholic perspective, but you’ll have to dig deep to find things from the Army perspective. For my sake and that of all my mates who served there make sure you see our side of it too.