D-Day … plus 70 years

Today marks the seventieth anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy. Over the past few days there has been extensive coverage of the events leading up to the landings, and today there will be ceremonies taking place in France and elsewhere to commemorate this anniversary.

There has been much mention of the fact that this will be the last big commemoration of the D-Day landings as the number of veterans is dwindling. Even the youngest of those who took part is in their late eighties, and each year the number grows less. The media has been recording their memories, and at times it has been hard to watch and listen to these old men and women remembering their part in this great enterprise. For a few brief moments they become young again.

On a personal level, one veteran will be missing … my father. He died just over a year ago, and even whilst the dementia from which he suffered over his last few years was at its worst, his days as a young soldier were still clear in his mind.

My father served with 53rd Airlanding Regiment (Worcestershire Yeomanry), Royal Artillery right up until the end of the War. He was part of the forward observation team and eventually reached the rank of Staff Sergeant. Today, whilst we remember all those who took part in the D-Day landings and the Liberation of Europe, I (and the rest of my family) will be remembering our father and the part he played.

George Cyril Cordery
(1926 – 2013)

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12 Comments on “D-Day … plus 70 years”

  1. It's remarkable how little we know of our parents and in many cases it's not until they are no longer around we realise we should have talked more. Fortunately my wife is a keen geneologist and works hard at it. As a result we have some brilliant memories of our parents. Her father made it out of Dunkirk and was then sent into Dieppe with the canadians, where he was captured. He was on the terrible march from czechoslovakia to germany in 45. My wife had the good fortune to discover a series of letters he wrote his sister during the war years which are a real eye opener. So to all of you who have your parents still. talk to them, you may be surprised

  2. Im remembering my grandfather who was in the Royal Canadian Ordanance Corp. He went to Normandy in July 1944. He was mentioned in dispatches for his role in Falise Gap. Thank you for your Dads service

  3. also a lot of the old men in my town when I was a schoolboy were veterans of Normandy as many had been North Nova Scotia Highlanders

  4. Lee Hadley says:

    I salute him and all those veterans from D-Day and throughout the whole conflict. I'm also thinking today about the home forces and all those civilians who supported the war effort and without whome D-Day could never have happened. My Grandfather was called up in 1939 but was invalided out of the Army because he had severe asthma. He ended up working at Woolwich Arsenel (where he met my nan) and had more than one near miss in the air raids on the site.

  5. A most wonderful post, Bob. Rest in peace Mr Cordery. He would be very proud today, I'm sure.

  6. Arthur says:

    Bob

    A generation we are so indebted to. My own dad was too young, but my grandad fought in Africa and Italy. He had to mark minefields at Alamein navigating by the stars!

    I did hear some stories from him when I came out of the army – quite amazing.

    Regards

  7. Robert de Angelis,

    Our families made us what we are, and the more we know about our forebears, the easier it is to understand who we are.

    It sounds as if your wife's father had quite a war, and I don't think that a lot of people nowadays realise how tough that generation had to be to survive.

    All the best,

    Bob

  8. Irishhighlander,

    Although the men who landed on the first day of Operation Overlord were justly remembered yesterday, it is important to also remember that the men who landed in the weeks afterwards did a lot of hard fighting, and casualties were as great as they were in some First World War battles. When the Germans finally broke and ran for the Falaise Gap, it was only after some tremendous battles.

    I would like to return the compliment, and thank you for your father's service … and for the service of all those who took part in the fighting that finally overthrew the Axis powers.

    All the best,

    Bob

  9. Irishhighlander,

    When I was a child there were still lots of First World War survivors around, including the man who taught me A Level mathematics. He had served as an infantry 2nd Lieutenant on the Western Front during 1917-18.

    His generation are now all gone … and the generation that fought in the Second World War are going. As long as we can remember them, their spirit will still live on.

    All the best,

    Bob

  10. Lee Hadley,

    You are quite right to remind us that you could serve your country during the Second World War in all sorts of ways other than as a member of the Armed Services. Without the efforts of those on the Home Front, it would have been impossible to have fought – and won – the War.

    All the best,

    Bob

  11. Sidney Roundwood,

    Thanks very much for your kind words. I just hope that I can continue to live and work in ways that would have made my father proud of me.

    All the best,

    Bob

  12. Arthur,

    Clearing minefields in the dark! That requires a considerable amount of what the Americans call intestinal fortitude! I am sure that you are proud of him … and he deserves to be remembered by the rest of us.

    All the best,

    Bob


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