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.