Members of GeneaBloggers are invited to commemorate their military ancestors during May 2014 by participating in Military Memories: 31 writing prompts, created by author Jennifer Holik.
Today's theme - Overseas Service - On the Move
My father, John Weston was happy to talk about wartime experiences, but they were an edited version. We never heard about the awful scenes he must have witnessed on Omaha beach, on the fighting in the march through France, at the Battle of Bulge and on into Germany and then the Far East. He served in the RAF, in a Special Liaison Unit, Codes and Ciphers Branch.
Here is Dad's story, told in his own words::
A Normandy Story & A Paris Welcome
"We had a good hotel at the back and were able to buy some very good cakes in the town. I became friendly with a former member of the government [Mr Battin] and was invited to his house. He produced champagne from his cellar and served them with lovely cakes with kirsch in them"
Then off on a circuitous route because we were not allowed to overfly certain counties. My travel documents said I was priority three – there were ten degrees, with Generals number one. We flew to Marseilles, then to Sardinia (refuel), over Malta to El Adam, near Tobruk., along the North African coast past Cairo and onto Palestine for a 36 hour break and went to Bethlehem. Our base was Lydda right on the coast. The flies were a major menace!"
"We flew onto Bahrain in the Gulf and then to Habayra (RAF airfield in Iraq) – temperature 104F when we landed there at 4a.m. I could hardly breath. Then onto Pakistan, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras and across to Ceylon. I went by rail to Mountbatten’s HQ some 8000 feet in a tropical town of Kandy.
My stay there was brief, but I remembered the good food. I was told plans had changed and I was rerouted to Bombay. It was take off in Colombo and we had almost reached the point of no return when the plane burst a tyre, which delayed us 24 hours. We took off at 4am on the second occasion.
"In Burma things were moving to a close. I was there at the ceremony in Rangoon when the Japanese capitulated. I was based at the university. We were always short of tea, which seemed odd in that part of the world, but there was plenty of cocoa. I also had a ration of one bottle of gin and one of lime juice a month. I used to drink that under my mosquito net at night watching the mosquitoes run up and down the wall.
I had a short break in Bombay before sailing on the "City of Asia" for home.
|Dated on the back Paris, September 1944 |
These stories of my family's military service have featured before on my blog.
But I am pleased to take this different approach suggested by Jennifer
and am proud to join in this challenge.
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