2 gars de Bradford

Dans cette rubrique, vous pourrez vous lancer à la recherche d'adresses de vétérans du Jour J et de la Bataille de Normandie, partager vos connaissances, vos relations avec nos héros de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale.
Florence
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Peter (left) and Gerry in 2004...
D-Day: "A deep breath, run like hell!"
On D-Day in 1944 Gerry Briscoe and Peter Strachan from Bradford took part in the biggest ever land battle ever seen in the history of the world. Sixty years on they told us what it was like to be a teenager going into war.

Why bother talking to two local men, one 79-years-old the other 81-years-old, about stuff that happened 60 years ago?

Well, though it might be difficult to imagine in an age of World War 2 virtual reality games on the PC or Playstation, it wasn't such a long time ago that real teenagers and young men were out there on the battlefields of Europe, against an enemy that was fighting with real weapons...and there was no 'Play Again' or 'Restart' option in those days...


Minutes to go: BBC D-Day landings reconstruction
Still not convinced? Well, if you're young, male and healthy now - but were somehow transported back in time to the 1940s - you'd come face-to-face with the biggest battle in history. It's a scary thought: there was nothing virtual about that...it was reality!

Over to Gerry and Peter...and be warned, some of this makes uncomfortable reading.

Teenagers go to war
What's it like being a teenager, not that long after having been at school, suddenly thrown into war?

GERRY (who started off in the Home Guard): I come from Doncaster originally. At Spotborough there's a very steep hill and we had to carry this bloke who weighed about 12 stone. We had to carry him up thise hill and I said: "That's me finished. I'm not going to go in the Home Guard anymore!" So I went to Sheffield to volunteer for the Navy. Three of us butcher's lads went and volunteered and we wanted to be ordinary seamen. We didn't want to go down below decks or anything like that. Blood and guts, that's what we thought as youngsters. Now [my friend] Kenny Empson, he managed to get in as an ordinary seaman and there were no vacancies for Kenny Morris and myself. So, we went back about a month after and we passed 'A1'-fit. There were no vacancies for ordinary seamen?So I came back to Doncaster, went to the Guild Hall Recruiting Office and there was a poster there that said: 'Wanted! Grenadier Guards'. So I went in and this Sergeant looked down on me and says: "Now, son, what do you want?" I said, "I've come to join the guards, Sir." He said, "Come back when you're five inches bigger!" So...I joined the Engineers instead!.

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PETER: I'll tell you how prepared we was. I was standing with this rifle with six bullets, waiting for the Germans to come across. Now, some of the Italians were fighting against us as well and they didn't want to fight. We had some Italian prisoners at Eden camp [a prison camp in North Yorkshire - now a museum] and we got one to clean out our hut, and this particular night - bear in mind that I'm 16-and-a-half - it's absolutely freezing, really freezing. Now, I had to go out on guard at 12 o'clock at night, our blankets were frozen and this Italian prisoner was lying in bed. There's no way I'm not going out there, so I went over, and said to him: "Take this rifle and go out on guard." Annd he did my guard for me and that's how we sorted it out in those days. But, of course, we slowly got round to realising there was a war on. One day we accidentally caught a German plane going over with a searchlight and, what a nasty thing to do, he went and fired bullets down at us!
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The Landings
Peter and Gerry were both on the Normandy beaches on 6th June 1944...


Then: Peter Strachan
PETER: I came ashore at Juno beach. I was just a little over to the left-hand side of Arromanches, but for us it was just something that we had to do. For the younger people of today they see all the boats and that sort of thing but we didn't stand there saying '1,2,3,4'. We weren't thinking about that. We were thinking about landing there and making sure we were going to live through our war days. But once you got started, in all my time I never thought about getting killed until the last three months when the war was finishing. I'd lie in bed in this posh school and I thought to myself: "You'll be out of the army in three months. You'd better be careful you don't get killed or something." I just don't think you thought about it.

GERRY: The thing I remember is once I got on the beach I'd got my 25 pound [explosive] charge and, of course, you had to lay down until you'd got everything sorted out and there was a little ridge about 18 inches. Now when I saw the film The Longest Day, I think it was in the Gaumont Cinema, and I was with my wife and I jumped up and shouted: "It's there!" I actually saw the little part of the beach where it was and it's incredible.

I was looking out and then the tanks started coming, these flotation tanks started coming in. I looked back and these bullets are whipping round and I kept saying: "I'd love to be in one of these things there" and all of a sudden they started sinking and I thought: "Thank God I'm not in one of those now!" We had to run between two hillocks and the Germans were just whipping their machine gun bullets through there and the Devons and Dorsets [soldiers] hadn't got up as far to get to these hillocks. I've been back several times to Normandy and I stood on the hill where these guns were and you can just imagine them just knocking us off, straight down the beach there. The lad next to me had been hit and then he got hit again...I don't think he was dead, just winged a couple of times. We had to run in between these two hillocks. You had to take a deep breath and run like hell and then once you'd got to the other side the Germans would just whip through with the bullets again, and then you'd had to start laying down and prodding for mines. The day went on and I've no recollection of what happened. People say it's quite normal for your memories to just go.

"That's my lot. I've had it."
GERRY: I was in the 205 Field Company Royal Engineers and I landed on D-Day on Gold Beach. We'd been in a camp in the forest in Hampshire, fastened up with barbed wire all the way round, and when we were on our way to Normandy we put all the sheeting down on lorries so we couldn't see out and nobody could see in. We got on the boat on the 29th May and we went down towards the Bay of Biscay and back up again and we went out two or three times in the LCAs [landing craft]. Then D-Day came, it should have been two days before but the weather was so bad and so rough. We got into the boats and came down the rigging and I had a 25 pound charge on my front to blow a pill box up and a big yoke on my back with all the kit. One minute the boat's up and the next minute it's down and you had to make sure you got in the boat before you let go of the rigging and I found myself the first one in the boat.


Then: Gerry Briscoe
Normally when the Royal Marines take you in, they drop the boat in shallow water then come back and me, with all this weight on, I thought: "That's my lot I've had it!" And unfortunately when the Marines went in, negotiating his way through, he dropped the ramp and the first lad went out and dropped off in 20 foot of water. I I was very, very lucky that it wasn't me. Anyway he went further in - I was only 5 foot 7, either short or tall you might say - and the water's over my head and I'm scrambling to try and get to the beach and there are people floating around you and boats coming in. In one of the boats that came alongside us was a man called Howard Marshall and he was a BBC commentator and he was going to do a running commentary as we went on the beach. Unfortunately his boat got blown up. He survived, he got out, but when you're wading through water four or five feet deep with waves coming over your head and people firing at you, all hell's let loose. Once we got onto the beach I found the pill box [Gerry's target] had been blown so I unearthed my 25 pound charge and got rid of that right quick. Then we're down on the floor and then we're under instruction to start plotting for mines to let the other tanks come though.

"That was the end of him."
The D-day beaches were just the start...

PETER: There was this Canadian lad with us. When the Germans found out they were on to us they started throwing mortars at us. We were lying in this trench and this Canadian bloke says to me: "Have you got a match?"

I said: "You're not lighting a match up in here!"

"It's all right. I'll put it under my blazer."

I say: "No, I haven't got one."'

So he says: 'B****r you!"


BBC reporter Howard Marshall
Then he gets out and he walks past my vehicle and over to his own. Now, the vehicle I had had no glass in it, a completely open thing, but his had glass in and he went across to get his fags out. He opened the door. The glass was reflecting and the Germans with their three inch mortar just lob one straight on to the top of his vehicle, straight through his back and that was the end of him.

When I eventually got back to the Canadian boys they said: "Where's whatever-his-name-was?"

I said: "He got killed back yonder."

"Didn't you bring him home?"

I answered: "No, why would I bother doing that?"

These six Canadians get into this truck and they tear on back. The Germans are just as brainy as us, so they're waiting. When they got back, there were six of them with a three-inch mortar straight under them.

Source: bbc.co.uk


Nous sommes conscients que ces Américains, là-bas vont à l'abattoir.
"Pauvres bougres" dit Frerking, incidemment à voie basse.....
J'ai moi aussi le sentiment de monter à l'échafaud.

Heinrich Severloh, WN62, Mémoires à Omaha beach
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Membre de l'association DDay-Overlord
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Membre de l'association : "Les Fleurs de la Mémoire".
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Dogface Soldiers
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2 gars de Bradford

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Bonjour Flo.
"Je vais avoir du mal à traduire tout ça !!!" Image
Car la langue de Shakespeare n'est pas ma tasse de thé .


Dogface Soldiers - US Militaria WW2 collector -
pti gibus
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2 gars de Bradford

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mets le en français, ce sera plus pratique et plus compréhensible pour tous le monde.


Florence
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2 gars de Bradford

Message non lu par Florence »

[quote="pti gibus"]mets le en français, ce sera plus pratique et plus compréhensible pour tous le monde.[/quote]

Chacun fait comme il le peut! ;)


Nous sommes conscients que ces Américains, là-bas vont à l'abattoir.
"Pauvres bougres" dit Frerking, incidemment à voie basse.....
J'ai moi aussi le sentiment de monter à l'échafaud.

Heinrich Severloh, WN62, Mémoires à Omaha beach
_____________________________________________________________
Membre de l'association DDay-Overlord
Image
Membre de l'association : "Les Fleurs de la Mémoire".
Image
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