Saturday, 6 June 2009

Thoughts on the 65th Anniversary of D-Day.



When I was a little girl Shredded Wheat was one of my favourite breakfast cereals. I had noticed that my father never ate it, and one day I asked him why. This was the tale he told me:

It all started early in June 1944. The ship's cat had recently had kittens, and my father had just found out that the cook had drowned them. He was furious. Sailors are notoriously superstitious, and to kill a cat on board a ship was a definite no-no.

The next day they set sail for Normandy with troops, ready for the invasion.



They safely delivered the troops and started the journey back to port to pick up the next soldiers, waiting to get to France.



It was morning, and my father was eating his breakfast. It was Shredded Wheat. While he was innocently chewing away, there was a huge explosion, and the boat literally split in two. His ship had hit a mine. The next moment he was floundering in the North Sea.

After about half an hour, he was picked up by a life boat and hauled on board. As he sat shivering, he realised he had something in his mouth. It was his last mouthful of shredded wheat! From that day onwards, he never touched it again.



The ship's cook drowned. He was the only casualty.

19 comments:

nAncY said...

what a story!

donsands said...

You must be very proud of your Father.
Thanks for sharing this great story about your Dad. Do you call your fathers in Britian Dad? Just wondering.

D-Day is a good day to refleck upon. Much there to consider.

nAncY said...

my dad was in the airforce in ww2 and after the war did not ever want to fly.

simon said...

Thats amazing! A fantastic piece of history.

I had an uncle who passed away recently and he was in the australian army from 1941-1946, as a surveyor for the artillery. When I was a child he gave me his uniform. I still have it, and now his service medals...

Now- heres something really weird- My Ww2 jeep that I bought last year has a modification to it, that is only found on jeeps that served in Borneo, New Guinea and Bougainville.

I have a photo of him in one such jeep-

how weird would it be if the jeep I have was the jeep, or one of the jeeps that was in the area he served!!???

Stay tuned- I have made enquiries to the Australian war memorial!!

Shammickite said...

That's a crazy story!
I have great respect for those who served in the forces during the war... they were brave and probably didn't really want to be there but they did their duty and we are here because of that.
I never liked shredded wheat because it tasted like shredded cardboard.
How's little Helena Rose.... I just looked at her picture and she is SO SWEET! Lucky you, to be nana to such a sweet girl.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Lorenzo,
Interesting story. So grateful your father made it through that safely. But what a sacrifice those men made, even the ones who made it through safely, but especially those who did not.

My father was over there as well, in a tank. His life was defnitely at risk, but he had one over him who valued the life of the men over his own life. Can't remember the entire story just now on that.

I do have the flag that was on Dad's casket.

Ju's little sister said...

My Grandad never spoke to me of his experiences in the Air Force in the Pacific Theatre, WWII.
He told me one naughty military joke, and we once found out he'd never step aboard a DC-3 again.

When he found out I'd been accepted into the Air Force he bought me a morse code trainer device and wrote out all the codes for me to learn.

He died before I went off to my recruit course.

I wish I could speak to him now about what his life had been like during the war. I wish I could tell him how much I value what he did for me back then.

Maalie said...

Yes, our father never spoke very much about it, but a few anecdotes like this survive.

He did he part to defeat the hateful Nazis.

Nicely told, Lorenzo.

Anonymous said...

I'd heard the story before, but thanks for recounting it in such vivid detail.

Jack

simon said...

hey- is there a similar story about Maalies dislike of Yoghurt and Rubarb?

Halfmom said...

My goodness what a story! Somehow I missed that you'd put a new one up - sorry!

I can't say as I blame him for never eating it again - but I would miss my frosted mini-wheats!

Have a wonderful trip to visit the wee one.

Shammickite said...

I wanna see more pics of that wee babby!

Martin Stickland said...

I think I will stick to CoCo pops!

Nice story and what a cutie little baby in the last post aaaaaahh!

Have a good week me old fruit!

Ted M. Gossard said...

I eat raw oats, this morning with wheat germ.

Hope you and yours are doing well, Lorenzo.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nice to hear from you over on Susan's blog.

Deb and I are going to the lake (Lake Michigan) today, even though it is a bit on the cool side. To read and visit and just enjoy the scenery and scene there.

Hope you have a good weekend!

Ted M. Gossard said...

It actually was warm that day there on the beach in Grand Haven. Even if the water, at least for Deb was on the nippy side.

We actually just waded in it, but after sitting for a couple hours reading on the beach, that water sure felt good to me.

Hope you have a good day today, and are enjoying the summer.

Merisi said...

Frightening to read about what happened to your father, even knowing that ultimately he survived!

I have known one soldier who was among the first to arrive at the beach of Normandy on D-Day, with a bicycle. He and another guy were supposed to check out if passing a certain bridge was safe. The other guy crossed the bridge first and was blown up. There were so many heroes who did not make it through the horror, so it is good to read that your dad somehow lived through it.

TCA said...

The most miserable of all cereals anyway...

W

Ted M. Gossard said...

This IS a good post to leave up as the first post for a long time.