Sunday, 10 May 2020

75 years

I watched the film about Winston Churchill last evening on  BBC1.   I found it most interesting and it told me so much that I didn't know - I don't know how absolutely true it was to events (the incidence of the journey on the tube was a case in point) but although I was almost seven when the war started I remember the day it started and I remember Dunkirk (my brother was there) and after that I remember quite a lot.   Parents were good in those days - they kept the very worst news away from me and I don't remember any sense of fear at all in those early days when the threat of invasion must have been so very real.   They seemed to open up once it became evident that there was a real chance that we might be going to win.

Kippy, answering my yesterday's post, spoke of the noise the bombers must have made.   That I do remember during the latter stages of the war - again once the tide had turned in our favour.  Living, as we did, in the middle of one of the flattest counties in the country - Lincolnshire - we were surrounded by airfields and airfields mainly full of Lancaster bombers.   When they took off nightly on their bombing raids they would pass over our house and my father would remark that they were probably going to Dresden or to Hamburg.   The fact that they were going to drop bombs and actually kill people never crossed my childhood mind.

But now we have had the 75 celebration - and once we have had a similar celebration for the end 
of the war with Japan in a few months time - maybe it is time we forgot it, put it to the back of our minds, remembering the many, many thousands who gave their lives but no longer reliving it.   It is pointless saying hoping we learned the lesson that it really must never happen again - because clearly, judging by the many conflicts since that time, by the advance of sophisticated weaponry, by the continuing disregard for human life and dignity throughout the world such a hope is not on the agenda.

21 comments:

Heather said...

When I think back to the war years I am amazed how safe we felt in Bucks, yet only about 30 miles from London. During the blitz we could see the sky red with flames yet hardly any bombs fell on us although we could hear large numbers of enemy bombers flying over. How lucky we were.
I doubt that we have learned many lessons from those days - humankind seems to repeat it's mistakes throughout history.

Amanda said...

My father was in the 8th Army Air Corps, stationed near Ipswich, working as a mechanic on the Mustang fighters. One of his stories was how one Christmas, I guess this would have been 1943, how during the blackout, when the bombers came back, they turned on all their landing lights as they came over the town, green and red, and those were the Christmas lights for the year.

Derek Faulkner said...

I watched the film for the second time (first time at the cinema) and really enjoyed it both times.
While I didn't experience it (not being born till 1947), Sheppey in the Thames Estuary, where I've lived all my life, was bombed extensively at the start of the Battle of Britain. We had a small RAF airfield here that the Germans mistakenly thought was a fighter station and so hammered it. They often dropped bombs here as well, if they had some left on their way past from bombing London.

JayCee said...

My mum was aged 4 when WWII started and her family lived in Poplar, in London's East End at the time. She told me that she was evacuated to Hampshire with her younger sister, her older brother and sister were sent somewhere else. I don't think they were particularly welcome there and she told me that they were very happy to return home, even with the bombing.

Susan said...

I have older Dutch friends who say they still dislike the sound of a 'plane going overhead. In the Netherlands, whichever side dropped bombs, they still caused destruction and death. The memory stays with them. Do you think if women ran the world we would have less war?

walking in beauty carmarthenshire said...

We were born in early 1940 so remember some of the war years. We lived in Kent in the bomb track for London, so received anything dropped to early or too late for London, we clearly remember the throb of the bombers coming over and being told if you can see them but their engine cuts out 'get inside the shelter quick'. We used to burn a candle under an inverted flower pot to keep the shelter warm (?!!) We remember the sound of the guns at Woolwich arsenal.Should not think many younger than us ,can remember much of it at all.
Wonder if this could be the last big celebration of it, maybe its time ?
Kathy

Sarah D. said...

I so agree with you about not reliving the Second World War, it is done, we have thanked and thanked. Both my parents were in the military throughout the conflict and my childhood was blighted by their constant stories about ‘during the war’, over and over and as for young people dressing up in 1940’s clothes, why! or drunken old women singing well meet again, perleeese! Like you, I am self isolating and haven’t been out of the house for 2 months, it’s shit isn’t it. Sarah D.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Love your story Amanda

Bovey Belle said...

My husband was a war baby, and his mum ill with pneumonia when he was still very small, so his aunty and uncle looked after him, and he was laid down to sleep in a drawer! That was easily popped under the table if there were bombers about . . .

wherethejourneytakesme said...

My dad's family are from Lincolnshire - near Gainsborough a tiny village called Marton - my mum who was from Sheffield spent many days there during the war with his family while my dad was away in the RAF - it was safer than being in the city and they supplied her with eggs and dairy products to take back home. Mum remembers the terrible blitz in Sheffield when the Germans attacked the steel works - they spent many a night in the air raid shelters and took in my gran's sister and family when her house was completely bombed.
The Covid 19 is like a war but the enemy cannot be pinpointed - no doubt we will come through it all and learn lessons.

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Joanne Noragon said...

Yes, I believe the current generation will key off this pandemic in the same way we key off WWII. I wonder if they will remember their parents as the greatest generation?

Red said...

Interesting comments from a child's perspective about the war. I was born in '39 and remember some things. Of course, we were in Canada and very far way.

Cro Magnon said...

At least it stopped the Germans thinking they could rule the world by attacking everyone. Now they try to rule Europe by financial means, and I fear even that might fail.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Yes, I'm sure this commemoration will be forgotten in time, after all we no longer mark the date of the end of the English Civil War or the Wars of the Roses. As for people learning anything from the mistakes of others I increasingly have my doubts. If it were so then there'd be no overweight nurses, doctors wouldn't drink too much and off-duty policemen wouldn't speed in their cars - and believe it or not there's a cancer research lab in Cambridge that has an outside smoking area.

thelma said...

Well such commemorations are there to make people reflect and for those survivors to hear our admiration for them. But living in the past is not a good thing especially if we have not learnt from it. In theory it will be another 25 years before a similar celebration can take place and many of us will be long dead even to have an opinion on it!

The Weaver of Grass said...

where he journey takes me - I remember the raid on Sheffield and how the sky was lit up as far away as Lincolnshire.


Thanks to you all.

Haymaker said...

John by stargoose and hanglands - you really need to educate yourself as to why some people are 'overweight' as it isn't always about overeating. There are illnesses that cause people to carry more weight. You have absolutely no idea by looking at a person whether their weight is caused by consuming more calories than they need or if it's caused by a health problem.

Haymaker said...

I think that some people's thoughts on ignoring anymore celebrations are disgraceful. I am thankful every day for those who fought for us to live. My family suffered greatly from the loss of lives, from the youngest aged 18 who had only enlisted 4 weeks earlier, to the oldest who was a father of five. In between those ages four other family members lost their lives and three returned injured and damaged mentally so that their lives and that of their immediate family was never the same again.

Yes it would be so easy to brush it all under the carpet, live for the present and not give a toss about the heroes who fought for us. But you're here today living the life you choose because of those who fought for you.

I farm and every single day look at the nature around me, at my family, at my animals, at the crops we grow to feed others, thankful for the sun that shines on these crops and the rain that waters them and I'm thankful to my family and others who fought in order for me to live this life.

If you can't be bothered or don't care enough to still honour the heroes then shame on you.

walking in beauty carmarthenshire said...

hi Weave
I think there is a difference between celebrating and commemorating, they are two different things. I think its time to cease the first. We should never forget.
Kathy

Share my Garden said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Kathy's comment that we must commemorate not celebrate. When my father was demobbed I didn't know, or appreciate, who this stranger was who had come to live in our house and was bossing me about! He lived to the age of 91 and every year on VE Day I am thankful that he survived the war years.