June 6, 2009

A D-Day Memory

An e-mail yesterday from my mum contained this D-Day reminiscence

I have been sitting on the deck all afternoon thinking about D-Day among other things. I was nearly 16 as you know. A very grown up 16. Troops had been pouring through the Medway Towns for days on their way to the coast and the dock-yard was full of war ships.

Did I ever tell you about the Sunday morning the Centurion tanks came through? We heard this huge noise and we knew it could not be a buzz bomb as they were just about finished. My Dad said "Come on" and he and I ran up to the top of the road.

These massive tanks were rumbling along the main road. You should see what they did to the road surface! I'll never forget the sight. At least they were ours and not an invading force! Most big track vehicles had been taken down on the backs of trailers but these were way too massive.

We got a lot of waves from the guys hanging out the tops. Then a few nights later, after about 10p.m., there was the non-stop drone of the planes going over. It went on for hours. And so the end began.

Mum grew up about 30 miles south-east of London, near the mouth of the Thames.

Image from www.paoyeomanry.co.uk. Thanks!!


Virginia's grand-daughter said...

Thanks, to you & your mum.

Very emotional day thinking about my grandmother, stuck in England & Wales (she moved around) visiting family w/my mum here in America, a young girl. (And thinking of my great-grandfather, her father-in-law, executed as a political prisoner by the Nazis. He was still alive as of D-Day, though still waiting for exact dates. Lots of records are opening & requests are being processed.)

After my grandfather passed away in 1976, way too soon, I was the only one who staked a claim to the Liberty of London gentleman's silk paisley scarf grandma bought for him--it would be at least another year until she could get back (she was gone for an unplanned 4 years, not 3 months).

The scarf sports a single cigarette burn hole. The only instance in which I can imagine being grateful a garment worn regularly bears that mark. That happened in a Tube station one night, apparently.

Your mum's email reminds me of my grandmother, nervously smoking cigarettes (as she did), sitting with family, friends, & neighbors watching similar scenes.

I'm so very sorry that she isn't here to send me an email. (She loved to "keep up with things," so I'm fairly certain she'd sending me emails.)

Thanks for sharing the email.

The Clever Pup said...

Thanks, VGG (if that is your real name)

Brian Miller said...

wow. your moms words stir the emotion of that moment...great post.

Anonymous said...

Even as a veteran, I still offer my thanks. That includes all Allied Forces. Too, the point-of-view stories ( or witness accounts ) do not just serve as a memory to a difficult time; but they serve history, as well. I thank thee for sharing this, Clever Pup.

ds said...

It is only through memories like your mother's that we will ever know what those days were like. Thanks to both of you.