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At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009

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Friday, 8 May 2020

VE DAY

I have just watched the BBC VE Day programme from 9:00 pm and the following programme. They included emotional music,  much previously unseen film, many very personal and touching stories, and two remarkably well put together programmes considering the present situation and the time available to put it all together. For most of the time I have been sat there with tears running down my face (literally) and I have never before had an experience to affect me over a whole two hour period in such away.

I was only five and a half years old on VE Day but I have intermittent memories of WW2 and more of its aftermath, and more vividly of VJ day a few months later. Tonight my tears were caused for a melange of reasons. I single out one only which  illustrates the sacrifice and scale of what happened. A guy of nineteen was married and went off to WW2 only two days later and didn't come back until six years later - SIX YEARS, AND HIS WIFE WAS STILL WAITING FOR HIM. That's how long all the population and armed  services suffered beyond belief - just take a moment and think about the time scale.  And today we are hearing of people whingeing about having to abide by some simple rules for a few weeks, in particular I mean those who are selfishly flouting the rules who should be thankful they were ever born. I do not include the many people who are facing undoubted genuine hardship.

I think what has upset me most is that the World seems to have learnt nothing with persistent global famines, no global willpower to combat climate change and environmental destruction and much more that I dare not say about the responsibility of many so called religions for fuelling irrational animosity.

7 comments:

bowlandclimber said...

I was one and a half months old.
My parents married in 1940 and the next day dad went off to India for 3 years.
Yes, today's reminiscings put the present population's carping into some prospective, let's see how we cope with another month of lockdown.
Really enjoyed the bike riding by the way.

Anonymous said...

My parents married in August 1941. My father went into the army until 1946. He died in 1965 aged 50 when I was 18. My mother said she would always regret the five years they never had together. He suffered from excema from when he came home and was in hospital a few times with it. Probably caused by the stress of combat.

Roderick Robinson said...

If we are talking about the same person, may I amplify one or two details. His mother (Mrs Robertson?) was our immediate neighbour on Gordon Terrace and she had a bad-tempered reputation throughout the war. She often banged irritably on the wall between our two terrace housess. It was known that her son (RAF aircrew) was a POW but no one seemed disposed to make allowances for her, given this. His return home was announced two or three days before he arrived and a surprising amount of bunting was acquired to decorate the street. Even more surprising was the spectacle of what I regarded as a grumpy set of adults acting in concert for the first time.

I can see him now, quite clearly, as he turned into the street. He was short which I later realised confirmed he was probably bomber aircrew. He was wearing a fore-and-aft cap which, by then, had started to go out of fashion. His hair and moustache were an advanced grey and he looked about forty. As he walked slowly along the street, shaking hands and still carrying his small suitcase (It was of course the West Riding. Nobody offered to carry it for him.) the few smiles he dispensed were at best perfunctory. More than anything he looked tired to death.

I realise that this material is unnecessary to the point you are making. But I wanted him to be something more than a morality figure in a post-wartime anecdote. Besides which I felt he deserved my memory since I may be one of the few people still alive able to call up details that show that scenes of Hail-the-Conquering-Hero-Comes were not necessarily exultant.

Roderick Robinson said...

On reflection, the bunting may have been left over from VE-day celebrations.

Sir Hugh said...

BC - Even though I am a bit hazy about the duration of the war I still remember the after effects that went on for years afterwards with rationing and much more.

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Anonymous - I presume you are the same unidentified "anonymous" that has commented before and I apologise if you are somebody I know, but your comments are welcome - thanks. If you do want to have asn identity I think you may have to follow the instructions and create a Google account unless you already have one

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RR - That is a powerful point you have made which illustrates the real desperate aspects of war especially as it is a first hand account supported by unmistakeable keen observation.

I can't be sure of the name of the next-doors either but I seem to remember the man being obsessive about cutting his lawn, but I may be thinking of somebody else - I just have odd pictures in my mind. I also think we had a bonfire on VJ night - you may perhaps cofirm?

Michael Leddy said...

“And today we are hearing of people whingeing about having to abide by some simple rules for a few weeks”: yes, indeed. I was talking about this with mom a few days ago. She was a child in Brooklyn, New York, during WWII. People followed the mantra “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” And they did without a lot. The idea of sacrificing one’s comforts for a greater good still applies.

Sir Hugh said...

Michael L. - I was moved yet again by your comment. I haven't read or heard much about privations in USA during WW2 and I was brought up with a jolt reading about your mum (mom). We go on about us winning the war but it just wouldn't have happened without the massive decisive contribution from your side. I have memories of the austerity in the aftermath too painful to detail here, but what it left me with amongst other things was an almost obsessive antipathy to waste, especially food. I am angry if I see A.N. Other discarding a jar of marmalade that I know I could scrape out enough from for another two slices of toast. On the brighter side your intervention brought jazz to our shores which has given me much pleasure over the intervening years.