A Tribute to Heroes  27704

from Southsea Common in Portsmouth

  • c. 00:05:00 Discussion and VTs with Huw Edwards, James Holland, Dan Snow, Clare Mulley
  • 00:24:00 JJ Chalmers on obelisk at Southsea
  • 00:26:00 VT on tri-service nature of Operation with veterans
    • William Gladden, despatch rider for Hobart, then volunteered for airborne
    • John Bell MBE, flew with 617 squadron as bomb aimer
    • Robert Barnett, HMS Redpole, gunner
    • 00:27:00 Tank loaded on to glider, including picture
    • 00:27:40 Bell discovering what he had been training for
    • 00:28:30 Gladden on waving off Major Howard in the first wave of aircraft
    • Strips to confuse radar
  • 00:30:00 Holland on unfortunate naming of Hobart’s “funnies”; Germans more scared of crocodiles than we were of tigers?
  • 00:34:00 Robert Barnett (HMS Redpole). “Pot mess” cooking.
  • 00:36:00 James Walton (Durham Light Infantry, Sword Beach, D+4, Bren Gun carrier). Securing the beach road and keeping it clear. Then moving inland to take little villages, eventually towards Arromanches (St Marguerite). Finished war at the battle of Bremen.
  • 00:44:00 David Haig on weather forecasting and his play Pressure.
  • 00:47:45 Leslie Withers, engineer, landed late on D-Day after actions by assault forces “it was clear and quiet; we had a relatively easy landing, actually”. “We thought it was fantastic” on the armada.
  • 00:49:30 WRN Patricia Davies (Listening Station, Dover); looked out on convoys passing at 4am in the morning. WRN Christian Lamb (Falmouth); was aware they were “going over to France to give France back to the French”. Christian plans for ships, producing plans for ships with compasses on all bearings with maps.
  • 00:55:00 Support and supply of matériel (Dan Snow VT). Starts with kit carried by those landing on D-Day (38kg). Factories in UK rebuilding matériel after Dunkirk. School children drafted in to pack for D-Day. Woolworths/M&S staff. 400 million items of kit. Difference between Western Allies and Soviets: machines doing the jobs of men; less willing to sacrifice men in the way that was done on the Eastern Front.
  • 01:00:00 Archive of Mulberry Harbours, and aeriel footage of remaining ‘phoenixes’. Holland “numbers at the coal face of war comparatively few”:
    • 14% in British/Canadian Overlord = infantry
    • 7% tanks
    • 43% service corps
  • 01:02:00 Jim Radford, Merchant Navy, on creating the breakwater. Had been galley boy on a rescue tub. Taking over hulks to form breakwater with sunken ships. After first fortnight, shuttle runs with Mulberry harbour increasingly busy. Holland: breakwaters on all the beaches with “gooseberries”.  Wider and deeper tides for direct landing onto beaches at Omaha and Utah. Snow: 20,000 men a day after initial problems.
  • 01:09:30 Bletchley Park. Betty Webb, MBE, Auxiliary Territorial Service. Interviewed for job in German. Joy Aylard WRN, showing drums from the code-breaking computer at Bletchley; delighted to see it still working as she inserts drum and watches them revolve. Secret until 1975. 8000 people, majority women. “Because of the secrecy between huts and sections, D-Day came and went in much the same way any other day did.”
  • 01:13:30 Clare Mulley: women’s roles in code-breaking and SOE. Morpurgo: role of French civilians; “vile uniforms marching up and down their streets”. Women and children particularly good as couriers for the Maquis. We have never been occupied (with exception of Normans). All occupied on continent, and millions resisted, with many connected to D-Day. Importance of empathy with their war: “these people had it every day”. Basis of modern freedoms and reconciliations.
  • 01:20:00 Interviews (in French) with French resistance members.
    • Michèle Agniel: Paris under occupation, Bourgogne network. Memory of first American to stay in her home “qui representait tout l’espoir que nous avions”: c. 20 allies to stay during war. Made fake papers and took photos for IDs; tall story to explain the photos. Arrested by Gestapo. Fathered tortured.
    • Marcel Jaurant-Singer: recruited by SOE, setting up of radio stations. Also sabotage south of Lyon, blowing up aqueduct above station at Chagny.
  • 01:25:00 John Jammes, grew up in occupied France. Tried to flee at start of war, family separated (father in non-occupied zone). Eventually crossed line in a hearse, as close family of corpse. Boarding school, while father in Résistance: hiding Jews and young men from Alsace & Lorraine. Joined Maquis after D-Day. Ambushing German convoys heading in direction of Normandy. 17 in 1944, when his war ended and he went back to school. “It was just unacceptable to be occupied, humiliated …”. He did hate the Germans when he fought them, but refuses to blame the sons for the fathers sins: still a lot of prejudice among Europeans.
  • 01:31:00 William Moody: Horticulture Supervisor, Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Bayeux. Family affair, going back several generations.
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