Lest we forget..........

Merlin

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I just wanted to remind you all that tomorrow is Remembrance Sunday, when we honour the fallen that fought for our freedom. They bravely gave their today for our tomorrow.

remembrance.png



"In Flanders Fields the poppies blow between the crosses, row on row…"



"At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them."
 

r0jaws

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Having been to Ypres with my father last year, it is truly humbling the scale of the losses on both sides.
Many brave young men fought and died then, and continue to do so today and will continue to do so in the future.
Tomorrow is a day for them.
 

Merlin

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I know so much poetry that was written by or about the fallen heroes, having grown up around the military in my early years. Here are some examples.

High Flight
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds; and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of. Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
 

User1301

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I was talking to JuvUK a little bit about watches and such at R3play and we were saying how our fathers had given us watches that were special to us (in Juv's case it was a sweet Rado that he got a new strap for), but in my case it was an old aviator type watch my dad gave me from his time in the RAF during WW2. This watch is big and beautiful and has seen some action I could tell you. I believe all the pilots had these but my dad wasn't a pilot, he was on the ground as part of the fire brigade. I don't know how he got it but I'm guessing it was a gift from a pilot (one of his friends was a pilot).

He didn't talk much about his time during the war, and in fact the most he ever did was when I was in hospital as a young teenager myself and he was visiting. I was in there for a long time and on one of the times he visited he told me about how they used to get the alarm that planes were coming in. He never knew what to expect. Sometimes planes came in and all was well but sometimes they would come in on fire with bits missing from them and some very bad times they had to try and break into cockpits and access points to just get people out which I can only imagine as being horrific. Other than my dad's stories from that time, I have no real point of reference for what they experienced because like so many of us, we are here, living our lives due to the sacrifices made by the men (and women) of that time and all over defiance of the forces that wished to change that forever.

We still have these forces out there and have done ever since the great wars and our military are still dying to protect us (whether we agree with any of the conflicts or not), but for me it's way too easy for the ingrates to belittle and cast aspersions when they have no realisation, which is why it's so damned important we remember tomorrow as we always have - lest we forget eh?

John

PS - my Dad lived until he was 78 and died in 1998 from alzheimers.
 

Merlin

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My worst experience was in 1984.

My uncle Patrick was in the Parachute Regiment (1 Para) in WW2 and was dropped over Arnhem in 1944. He had joined up with all of his friends who lived in the streets of Luton and Dunstable.

He once told me that he basically lost everybody that he knew at Arnhem, either picked off by gunfire as they descended on parachutes or in the fighting that followed at what is now known as Pegasus Bridge. He also gave me a solid brass, leather-cased telescope that had been to Holland and back with him and I treasured it. I can even remember him travelling to Manchester visit us on a Honda motorcycle with the Pegasus winged horse emblazoned on the screen.

My father had gone out for the evening and the phone rang at about 8.30. A voice asked if my father was around and I asked who was calling. I offered to carry a message to him and it turned out that it was Luton Police. Patrick hadn't been seen for several days and the neighbours were concerned, so the Police were asked to make entry into the house to see if he was OK. It turned out that he had committed suicide by hanging himself through the loft hatch. I carried the message to my father as soon as possible.

My father had to go to Luton to identify his body with my gran. I can never forget the look on his face when he returned. We also had to arrange the clearance of the house to return it to the Council, and there was militaria all over the house, in the form of books, photographs and his uniforms. He simply couldn't let go and the 40th commemoration of Arnhem must have been too much for him. I just can't imagine how tortured he must have been, to be driven to commit suicide by the memories of the events.

My father still has his dress uniform, red beret with cap badge and his medals kept preserved with his own military items and I thought it was only fitting that I returned the telescope, to be kept with his uniform.
 

jvdbossc

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respect

respect

We have that day on 11 november. :huh: I can only pay my deepest respect to those who died and all the others who served.

Beiing Flemish, I can tell you the earth is very dark in the regions most died, there is and was a lot of moisture in that period - it was probably worse then hell.:wooha: At least that is what we were told at school.

It has been 2 times that uk people came to die here. First worldwar one was one with enormous crossfields. Well preserved, but that does not brings much.

This is a history fact, that must not be forgotten. I think especially Belgium and the Flemish need to be aware what happened, and have the deepest respect for the UK and what they did for us.

 

Merlin

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@ Jurgen

You are right, in that it was 11.00am on November 11th 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month) when the guns fell silent, marking the end of World War 1.

In the UK, we hold a two minute silence at 11am on the 11th and the main commemoration services are on the Sunday following the 11th November.

I believe that more British servicemen died in trench warfare at Flanders and the surrounding areas, than were killed in the whole of WW2 :wooha:; that is a frightening statistic and doesn't take into account losses from other nations......
 

Tajmaster

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@Dave, thank you for starting this thread. I have a huge respect for service men and women, both those fighting for us now and those who fought in battles past. I literally wouldnt be me if they had not stood up brave as they did and defended our country so we could exist as we do today, and my friends would probably have been speaking another language and not be the people I know and love today.

I am proud to be English and I am that and the person I am only because my dad could settle here and have me born here. Had the brave men and women of our military not stood tall for our Great Britain I would be alive I think, but not here, not me.

The word "hero" is used incorrectly far too often these days, you are not a hero if you are a footballer or a singer, our service men and women are the real heroes (y)

To all service persons, I thank you for what you do (y)
 

jvdbossc

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Dave,

There are at least many news papers reporting about it here. Not much detail, but at least stressing at the huge losses wich is correct info.

And also local politics about Flemish goverment and UK talking about how to take care off the graves. They seem to agree faster then with local political dutch/french troubles.:whistle:

I saw the crosses in Ieper long time ago, I know they have football fields of them the crosses are close to each other. We compare huge space with football fields so please do not take it the wrong way.

So yes you are right. I always think and thought, so far away from home, how sad.

Getting older also meant realising looking at that, what it means.:oops: I hope that horror is not for me, nor my son.

I have no patriotism, most Belgian do not have it much like the previous poster, it is strange for us..Most of us do not understand that. I am not trying to offend taijmaster at all.
 

rkauer

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Three children without money nor moral

Heard the warning that sound like a tear

Her name may be Fatima

Suddenly the vine becomes water

The wound didn't heal

And on the third day

Nobody came from from the grave
 

1980-20..

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My worst experience was in 1984.


He once told me that he basically lost everybody that he knew at Arnhem, either picked off by gunfire as they descended on parachutes or in the fighting that followed at what is now known as Pegasus Bridge. He also gave me a solid brass, leather-cased telescope that had been to Holland and back with him and I treasured it. I can even remember him travelling to Manchester visit us on a Honda motorcycle with the Pegasus winged horse emblazoned on the screen.

Just a small note and it doesn't change your story in any way just me being a bit ocd, but Pegasus Bridge was the bridge captured by British forces on D Day in Normandy. I think what you are referring to is operation Pegasus the rescue of the trapped paratroopers in Arnhem.

Then again i might be wrong.

(y)
 

Merlin

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My uncle was definitely in Arnhem at the time, so I guess that you are correct in that he became part of Operation Pegasus, that he was probably trapped in Arnhem with his comrades.
 

McVenco

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The bridge in Arnhem is now (since 1978 ) known as the John Frost bridge. Before that it was just called the Rhine bridge.

Operation Pegasus was indeed the rescue of British troops who were trapped after the Battle of Arnhem.


We (still) owe a great debt of gratitude to all those boys who came to help our little country (and other countries of course) to get our freedom back. Both my grandfathers were active in the resistance then, but we couldn't have done it without the help of people like Merlin's uncle. It makes me a bit sad though that he (and probably a lot more just like him) suffered so much for all those years...
 
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