Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The Great Crusade

Today marks 68 years since the D-day landings on the beaches of Normandy.

It's difficult to imagine that, approaching the 5 beaches by sea, were 156,000 men and around 20,000 vehicles. On D-day allied aircraft flew 14.674 sorties and 127 were lost.

Casualties on the British beaches were roughly 1,000 on Gold Beach and the same number on Sword Beach.  The remainder of the British losses were amongst the airborne troops: some 600 were killed or wounded and 600 more were missing.  One hundred glider pilots also became casualties.

Over 425,000 allied and German troops were killed, wounded or went missing during the Battle of Normandy.

Eisenhower, when rallying his troops referred to the Battle as 'The Great Crusade'. The EU sprung out of a determination to end the frequent and bloody wars between neighbours.

The sacrifice so many made in order to keep us safe should never be forgotten.  Today's political warmongers, such as Blair, Brown and Cameron, do a great disservice to those who perished in both world wars because most of us know their regurgitation of 'it's for the safety of the country' is a lie.

But it was the truth 68 years ago today. Every single member of the allied forces gave their all in order to allow us to live in peace today.



JRB said...

I have never experienced the horror of war.

But I have experienced the personal suffering that the aftermath of such wars brings.

A half blind grandfather who had to fight a daily battle to get enough air into his lungs having been gassed in WWI
A beloved father, who would happily regale us all with amusing little adventures he had in WWII, but who, till his dying days, woke regularly in a cold sweat having had yet another nightmare of the war time horrors he had experienced.

These memories are sobering enough for me, but now we have another generation in power, one which thinks that war and conflict is macho, a bold statesman like thing to do. As if dragging us into one conflict after another in some way quantified their political power – Oh how wrong they are.

RMcGeddon said...

Not a peep on the BBC about the D Day landings Anniversary. Not really surprising I suppose from the lefties that take our money on threat of prison. Their Jubilee pageant commentary was like something out of Playschool. "The boat is parking by the wall" and "The queen has gone upstairs on her boat" etc.
With Defence 'Experts' talking about Spitfire 'jet fighters' and 'aircrafts' it was to be expected that they would trash the Jubilee.
Plenty on BBC 'news' about Dave talking tough on Syria. Oh and something about English football and Andy Murray failing again.
I think they should mobilise the Cabinet and after 3 months squarebashing send them on a 6 month tour of Helmand on re supply duties.
When/if they all get back they can decide whether to attack Syria as well.

subrosa said...

I've witnessed the leftovers of war JRB and they're never pretty. The human grief involves not only the military person but those far and wide.

Our politicians are spineless when they think military warfare is a quick answer.

subrosa said...

I never saw anything either RM. Of course there were no politicians attending posh ceremonies...

Brian said...

Phillip Hammond and President Hollande attended a wreath laying ceremony at Ranville cemetary. In the morning the British Ambassador and Minister for Veterans Affairs attended a service in Bayeux Cathedral for the 68th anniversary.
Meanwhile, not far from gunner Milligan, my Grandfather and the other D-Day Dodgers ate spaghetti and drank chianti from 1943-45 fighting their way up the Tough Old Gut. Monte Cassino was captured at the end of May 1944 and Rome fell two days before D-Day. My junior school headmaster and Burma Star Association chaplain lost an arm in the war and knew men who fought at Imphal and Kohima in June 1944. I don't want to take away any of the D-Day veterans sacrifice, just add the contributions of others less well known.
RMcG, it would also be a good idea if those generals who produce a military solution to a problem when consulted by ministers serve for at least six months as platoon commanders before risking young soldiers' life and limb.

subrosa said...

Brian, many thanks for your contribution. So many stories will be left untold and it's good to hear yours, so much appreciated.

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