This week we have been watching the BBC 2 series ‘Britain’s Greatest Generation’.
We already know how incredibly brave the men and women were—those who stepped up to the plate when war was declared in 1939 to fight for their country. Many thousands who would never return home, and many thousands who suffered horrific physical and mental injuries that would last a lifetime.
So many imprisoned received inhumane treatment by their captors, but their incredible grit and determination to survive, in some cases for over three years, was eventually rewarded with the freedom to return home and be reunited with their loved ones.
Even watching on a screen, it’s humbling to see footage and hear first-hand some of the experiences those fearless men and women encountered, and how 75 years later they can recall their experiences as if they happened yesterday.
Whenever something good has happened unexpectedly I have always either said, “well that’s happened for a reason” or “well, that was definitely a meant-to-be”.
And recently that’s proved to be exactly the case.
The reason I am writing about it now is because it relates to my husband’s grandfather who played his part in the World War II, but like so many has never received recognition for it.
Up until now we haven’t been able to find out exactly what he did, and none of his four daughters would ever talk about it. They’d clearly been sworn to secrecy and believed that was for life. Despite trying every trick in the book to get them to talk, their lips remained tightly sealed to the end.
‘Ga’, as he was known to his family, started his military career in the Navy in communications. But when the war started he moved to the army and was sent to a place called Whaddon Hall, a separate building, but part of the Bletchley Park complex where all the top secret activity took place.
Ga was chosen for his skills in communications and, subsequently, was sent out to Australia to set up a listening station to follow the progression of the war in the Far East.
Now, quite out-of-the-blue from something totally unrelated, we have been introduced to an amazing 94-year-old gentleman who worked at Whaddon Hall during the war. He’s been able to confirm what we knew but couldn’t prove, and is going to ensure that Ga’s name will be added to the list of thousands who worked at Bletchley Park and Whaddon Hall during the war years.
For this to have happened at this time is particularly poignant for Ga’s 13 grandchildren, who now have resolution to this long-standing issue, 75 years on.
What is so amazing about the thousands of men and women involved in World War II is that they, not just in the military but everyone who was fit enough to do so, took on a role.
Whether it was in a factory making ammunition, the land girls working the land, nurses looking after the injured both here and overseas, or driving ambulances, fighting fires and clearing debris after a bombing raid. And then there were those who worked in secret and behind enemy lines.
So, so many brave and selfless people, fighting for the freedom that we have in the United Kingdom today.
If, like me, you sometimes feel frustrated and restricted at the moment because of COVID-19, remember first-and-foremost all the thousands of people who have already died because of it, and then think back 75 years when millions gave their lives fighting for a free world.
Yes, we are fighting a war where we can’t see the enemy, but now it’s our turn and our duty to do whatever it takes to free the world once again.
75 YEARS ON – “LEST WE FORGET”
As a nation we have the resilience, grit and determination that BRITAIN’S GREATEST GENERATION have given to us—and in their memory, we must fight on.
’Til next time,