I enjoy following the ancestral trail: the detective story element in hunting for information and corroborating it with evidence, (I do not like to be defeated), the satisfaction of finding key facts, and writing up the information in an interesting way that appeals to others. So do read on, or even better, sign up as a follower. I would love to hear from others who share my enthusiasm for family history.
Thursday, 19 September 2013
Sepia Saturday - How Dad's War Ended
Sepia Saturday gives bloggers an opportunity to share their family history and memories though photographs.
This week's prompt of women at a peace conference in 1918 had me struggling for a contribution. I have already featured the only two photographs I have of women in groups and hats have provided me with many a post.
So I have taken a sentimental journey back to my father's account of his war time experiences, which I have featured before on my blog. Here is how peace came to him with the end of war in 1945.
Dad often talked about his war time experiences and I am afraid it did
provoke the reaction “Not the war again,
Dad”. We also used to
joke about him being in the Intelligence Branch.It was only later that we came to realise
what a life-defining period it was and I persuaded him to write an account
Dad always had an interest in journalism and it was a familiar sight to see him seated at the typewriter on his bureau, which had been awedding present from my mother.
In later life,Dad was a regular contributor ofletters to local newspapers and prepared talks on a variety of topicsto present to local societies.Hewould have loved the world of blogging!
A PARIS WELCOME
Dated on the reverse Paris - Sept. 12th 1944
"I was stopped by a Frenchman who said in English “RAF Sir? My name is Joseph Calmy. I was the Shell agent here before the war”. I offered him cigarettes and he then invited me to a building and gave me a bag full of Chanel perfume, toiletries, powder and cream – it lasted Mum for ages. I flew back with it when I got some leave in March ‘45.
On another day, a man motioned me into a courtyard and into a large house where his daughter, who spoke very good English, said “My papa wants you to stop and have dinner with us”. We ended up in a café and went through some rush curtains into a back room. In a few minutes a man and a woman came in carrying a bag, which they unloaded to reveal eggs, butter, meat, grapes and champagne. I had a meal of steak with a large bunch of grapes. When we came to leave it was as if I was walking on air – I floated out of the café!
A letter home to my mother - Sept 1944
By April 1945 Dad was in Germany - in Wiesbaden on VE Day.
"The GIs went wild, but we British took it all very quietly, with coffee and doughnuts from the Red Cross post – very very nice!”
Dad thought his war had ended in Germany, and was looking forward to heading home, but to his shock he was posted to the Far East.
"I had a short break in Bombay before sailing on the "City of Asia" for home.We eventually arrived at Liverpool on Christmas Day 1945 and went to a camp at Birkenhead.Then I caught a train to Blackpool and arrived home by taxi at 2pm.
One of the first things I did was to cradle you in my arms – you were shy – no wonder!"
MY WAR HAD ENDED!"
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