Excellent programme on BBC sounds “What if D-Day Failed?”

Great debate and quite chilling.


It’s hard work parking at Maidstone hospital, but the Eye department is very good.

Elaine had a really nasty eye infection last year causing her to worry about losing her sight in that eye, but they sorted it out very professionally.


I watched Saving Private Ryan (DVD) again last night. The first 20 minutes portraying the landings on the beach are shocking, but then I remember this is just a film, I can not imagine the fear and horrors of actually being there.
My Father fought in North Africa, Sicily, and up through Italy, he was at Monte Casino. He never spoke about his experiences and my brothers and I only found out some of his exploits after he died and we saw some diaries and Battalion logs he had. It was a shame that he never shared his memories, but, like so many other veterans, the pain and horror of war that they experienced was/is difficult to talk about. My Father cried when he first saw the opening of Saving Private Ryan, I only saw my Dad cry one other time and that was when my Mum died.


It’s one of the things where reality is much intenser than any film or book can describe. What helped me to understand the madness of war was the movie Apocalypse Now. Partially fantasy, but it showed me the madness and not so much the heroic side of war portrayed so often in movies.

I’m in my fourties, and my parents grew up in the sixties and had great difficulty communicating with their parents. I believe the war generation (my grandparents) were very introvert for the reason you describe - not willing or be able to talk about the memories.

Being Dutch, but having worked many years in the UK or with American, British or Canadian people I heared many wartime stories and I’ve also had colleagues telling about the losses in their families.

It makes me thankful and humbles me.


Bless his soul.


I think it’s great how we remember our relatives involvement in D Day and Operation Overload generally.
I was fascinated by my grandpa’s stories, and being an avid photographer he took his small portable Box Brownie camera … and some of his photographs of liberated Europe from the road from his military vehicle, in his case northern France including Brest were superbly insightful. He and my Nanna spent much time in Germany prior to the war too, as there were many friends in Germany … some of those pictures and stories were fascinating too.
Alas the pictures were all destroyed later by accident… I was heart broken, however he knew my fascination and in his will he left me some of his artefacts he recovered, and one is the field map document for the German invasion of the British south coast.

One thing I also remember he was always distrustful of people who over played D Day… and over remembered it… it was fascinating in current contexts, he did not like to talk about it… or even mention his bullet wound… he was a proud man and felt it was a patriotic duty on you and not something to overly focus on or commemorate… He felt war was evil, and he said both sides had rights and wrongs. I am not sure he would at all approve how things are playing currently with commemorations of the anniversary, talk of heroes etc and how history reflects and distorts through the eyes of the victors.

Having said that, he was a staunch North Riding Conservative and religious Daily Telegraph reader all his life, he did thoroughly disapprove when I joined CND for a while as a teenager. Dear Grandpa Brown….


The Overlord Embroidery, at the D Day museum in Portsmouth, is well worth a visit. They have an original landing craft too, which you can look around. It’s a really good day out and has some fascinating stuff.


We found the British D day presence on the beaches in Normandy rather underwhelming compared to the Canadian and US musuems and memorials. However we enjoyed the museum in Portsmouth and the tapestry when we visited.



There is a book I’d recommend on what came next for the British and Canadians - the Battle for Normandy and then the push for the Rhine via the Scheldt. The title is ‘The Guns of War’ and the author George G Blackburn was a Canadian artillery officer throughout that period. The principal artillery piece was the 25pdr QF gun that will be familiar to many in the UK. I’ll say no more. Each reader will react in their own way to his accounts.

Since it was published back in the 90s I think it may only be available used.

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Did anyone else watch this?

Some of the best TV produced in a long time. Real voices of D-Day veterans, lip-synced by actors. You soon forget about the lip-sync, and you warm to the personalities. Terrifying and emotional - and recommended.


Thanks for the tip! Ordered a used copy from a well-known auction site.

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I read about Operation Epsom as a result of your post. It made grim reading as did Operation Charnwood and Windsor

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Agreed, many didn’t. My pa saw active service in Middle and Far East, yet it was rarely mentioned. Only when a friend of a friend came to stay, whose late husband had been a Jap PoW and had been imprisoned in Singapore’s Changi jail, which my pa knew well, did a series of conversation over a number of days ensue, despiute his advanced years.
Imho it seemed easier to discuss with someone of a similar age, where mutual but maybe different experiences, seemed to encourage that memory recall. Each sharing memories, rather than one person trying to recount experiences, which just maybe, made being the centre of attention uncomfortable.
My ma’s war experiences, afaik, didn’t involve d-day, with an eighth anniversary due next year, so best for another thread.

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Bloody heroes they have my utmost respect. What a shame our modern world is in such a mess and a certain person couldn’t even be bothered to stay for the remaining ceremonies

Pity someone saw fit to post a joke on this forum about D-Day.

There are some very shameful people in this world. Fortunately it was promptly deleted.

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11 years ago I had a one week visit to Normandy as my US brother-in-law, now deceased, wanted to visit the war grave of a friend buried in one of the cemeteries.
I have to say I was a little sceptical in what I might see. How wrong can you be? Very.
The graves shown in the opening of Saving Private Ryan are exactly that. When you just stand and see the vast area given over to those who are no longer with us I would defy you not to moved.
Some graves have a father and two sons buried next to each other.
We shared our evening times in the hotel along with an elderly man who was a survivor of the D-day landings. What ever was said he never referred to his time there.
I forget how many cemeteries there are. All perfectly maintained.
I’m glad I went.


Yes, we all need to understand this, and the numbers involved, from WW1 and WW2 and all the wars and stuff before between and since. The CWGC are unsung heros.
All the cemetery’s and memorials are perfectly maintainded, no matter where in the world, no matter how remote, everywhere where the Commonweath men & women have been laid to rest.

‘My’ CWGC cemetary is Oosterbeek (Arnhem) where my father is buried.
The most poinent graves in that cemetary are the twins, Claude and Thomas Gronert, both in the same section in 2nd Batt one went to the aid of the other and they both died together and are buried side by side.

Some of the most moving battle/burial places I’ve been to are in South Africa:
– Spioenkop, on top of a high remote hill there is a long double line of white stones that mark what was a shallow trench that the lads of Lancashire Fusiliers, Royal Lancaster and South Lancashire Regiments had hacked out to defend there positions in the relief of Ladysmith. This shallow rocky trench was barely deep enough to cover them, but it ended up as a grave for all, buried where they fell in 1900.
– Isandlwana, a high rocky outcrop and hill that’s peppered with white painted cairns that marked the many places that men died in their last stands. This memorial marks the place where a Zulu force of around 20,000 attacked and massacred a British force of fewer than 2,000 in 1879
– Then not forgetting Roukes Drift


Thought it was an extraordinary thing. Mrs. H. and I found it absolutely compelling. Testimonies aside it was helpful to see what happened next; what worked and what didn’t. If there was a weakness then I guess it’s that we could have taken a further 3 hours.

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I went over to Normandy in 1994 for the 50th anniversary. We spent two weeks there going to the services, commemorations, museums, battle sites, etc and, as you said, it is very moving.

Have also done a few battlefield tours by coach looking at both WW1 and WW2 site.

Thiepval Memorial, Picardy

The Menin Gate, Ypres

The Last Post played at 2100hrs at Menin Gate is particularly moving.

The last tour I did was based the Holocaust tour. This was very well presented with dignity by Leger and again was extremely moving.

Terezin Concentration Camp, Prague

RIP and Respect. GBNF