Thursday, 7 November 2013

Remembrance Day Challenge: A Dunkirk Survivor - Uncle Harry



 REMEMBRANCE DAY CHALLENGE is the prompt from Julie at Anglers Rest who invites us to first present a photo collage  and write about  our ancestors and family  who served in war. 


Harry Rawcliffe Danson ((1912-2001) was my uncle on my mother's side of the family from Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire. His middle name came from his grandmother Maria Danson, nee Rawcliffe. 

 In this photograph I think there is an Errol Flynn look about him!
 



 
This signed menu of December 25th 1939,   written in French and typed on flimsy paper,  was found amongst the papers of my Uncle Harry.  He was in France with the British Expeditionary Force, 9/17th Field Battery.  In the Sergeant's Mess,  breakfast was cold ham with piccalilli, eggs, coffee and roll and butter;  for dinner  - turkey with chestnuts, pork with apple sauce, potatoes, and cauliflower followed by Christmas pudding, apples, oranges, and nuts, with cognac, rum and beer.  

Five months later Harry was one of the many men evacuated from Dunkirk, saved by the flotilla of small ships.  Sadly many of the men who were at this meal may not have survived.  
 


He arrived back home from Dunkirk  still in the uniform in which he entered the sea to be rescued.   He never talked about his wartime experiences, but seeing commemoration services or documentaries on TV could bring tears to his eyes, so the memories remained very strong. He later served in North Africa.
 


Harry had a short lived marriage in the 1940's and never remarried.   He lived  to the age of 89 remaining active to the end of his life - a keen gardener and ballroom dancer (he was never short of partners),   and he retained his good looks!

 
Young Harry - 1916
 

Young man around town - look at that  hairstyle!
The reverse of the photograph indicates it was taken in Salisbury -
when Harry was undergoing Army training? 
 

 In later life





Copyright © 2013 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved
 
 

 

1 comment:

  1. A lovely tribute. My Grandfather also served in Africa, Whilst we always remember the brave souls who never made it home, it is so important to remember and think back to the ones who did make it home and lived with dreadful memories.

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