Read the remarkable stories of the returning veterans from our superb souvenir pullout. A veteran of El Alamein, he had already been in combat many times but was still extremely nervous.
Our first hit was a German pillbox, which we blew up from yards. The best pistol in the world was the Luger. They had the best machine-gun of the war, the Spandau, and, of course, they had the Tiger tank.
Pep Guardiola's side ultimately deserved the three points after edging the encounter
Les drove his Churchill tank through Normandy, survived the carnage at Arnhem in the failed Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge before pressing on into Germany. Near Osna-bruck, the first tank in a convoy of three was hit. The next thing Les remembers is waking up in hospital in Oxford nine days later. But a piece of metal lodged in his head, leaving him blind for six months and paralysed down one side.
Next 7 Days: Cinema
Les returned home, to Walsall, West Mids, was married for 62 years to Della and ran his own business selling frozen food and commercial fridges. Les has a severely autistic relative and was recently informed by a council official that a meeting about their welfare had been arranged for November You dropped your ramp and that was the signal to come out. That is when they were picked off.
The landing-craft coxswains spent days at the Normandy beaches in the initial assault, bringing more and more troops to further the Allied advance. Having survived that day, Ted saw many Canadian friends, who he had spent months training with, perish on the Normandy beaches. They never made it across the beach. I feel so sorry for the Canadians.
I wonder how many of those got back to Canada one way or another. After the war, Ted worked for the Forestry Commission until he retired — but losing all those friends will always haunt him. The wounds were terrible. He already knew the harsh realities of war. At 15, he had seen his home in West Ham in East London bombed. He joined HMS Belfast and became a torpedo operator.
When the ship was brought in to support the D-Day landings, Ted opened fire on the enemy. A few days later, out of nowhere, a local Frenchman passed on a bike, spat at my feet then carried on. Luckily, my commanding officer told me to calm down and I stopped. There was a bit of expected scrapping but after a week or so we advanced on this small village near a forest at night. And then they go through you. You are leapfrogging all the time.
On his way back, Percy was captured by German paratroopers. He was taken into a building where he found a fellow soldier on the floor, covered in a blanket, begging for help for his hand. It was all bleeding and two German medics were doing nothing. I put the tourniquet on and asked if he was all right. A German officer with a rifle pushed Percy up a flight of stairs where he was greeted by gunfire and the sight of a Panzer tank. He had been captured by the German 6th Parachute regiment and was handed over to the nd Panzer Grenadiers, shackled and placed in a makeshift cell in the cellar of a nearby castle.
The other two men were asleep but covered head to toe in mud, and they stank. For the next ten days a German commander interrogated him daily about his mission, division and unit as the number of men in the cell grew from three to Eventually he was released, and after the war Percy returned to carpentry, the trade he learned before war broke out.
He has returned to Arromanches in Normandy to remember his fallen friends almost every year since If you are using the system for the first time, please arrive early and seek advice from our Front of House team. Assistance dogs are welcome in both of our venues. Please call the Box Office or email the above address when booking to ensure you are seated appropriately.
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Novel Hearts by Rebecca Boucher
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