Like our Milk and Honey!!

This was part of Don Cherry’s diatribe on Coaches Corner on the eve of Remembrance Day. You people like our milk and honey! Sounds like he has used a line from a Merle Haggard song. A song about the Vietnam War “ On the fighting side of me” and directed at student protests and the burning of their draft cards. In Cherry’s case it was his statement using the term “you people” it was was racist and totally offensive. The fact it was said just hours before Remembrance Day made it so much more offensive.  The fact he was wearing his legion blazer with Life Membership badge acerbated the offensive remarks. He has lost his job having been fired by Sportsnet, and rightly so. Now I’m going to wait and see if the Royal Canadian Legion revoke his membership and cut all ties with him. However, Having seen how the legion have operated in the past I might have a long wait!!! God Bless and keep reading

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So Disappointed Today

Today, November 11th 2019. I woke up this morning not feeling well, my Remembrance Day kit was all ready, medals polished, shoes shined and blazer brushed. Alas it was not to be, just could not muster the energy to parade. A dreadful disappointment, I never miss a Remembrance Day ceremony, indeed I look forward to it. At least this year on the 7th Nov I was able to speak to the students at Hernwood Junior High School. Watched the Charlottetown and national ceremonies on my lap top and television. Of all the things we desire, the longing for something better, something more, more money, nicer car, posh home. All of these things fade rapidly when your health fails you.  Nevertheless, even sick I remembered my comrades from days gone by. I remembered the war years, the Anderson shelters, the bombs and the ever lasting shortages. I remember my shipmates as we sailed over and under the oceans of the world. I remember all of these things on this special day of remembering my comrades. God Bless and keep remembering.

Posted in Belfast Blitz, Family and veterans, HM Submarines, HMS Cockade, hms ganges | 4 Comments

A Day to Remember.

Today is a very special and important time to remember those who have gone before us. For me it is a day with a sad memory. My shipmate and best friend is no longer with us, Growing old, ones memories drift back to the time of our youth. Of the foolish and often stupid things we did, yet they were all actions we could look back on and laugh. We served our country with pride and honour. We were proud to call ourselves sailors and submariners of the Royal Navy. To my friend Michael Chislett,
I say, stand down sailor and  you have done your duty well.  Today as I attend a Remembrance Day Service, You will be my thoughts as I lay my Poppy at the cenotaph. God Bless, We Will Remember Them.

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Remembrance Day Memories. (The Blitz of Belfast N.Ireland)

This is my last Remembrance Day memory for 2019. I hope those who read my stories enjoyed and now know a little more about the war years.

The Belfast Blitz is an unusual story, the city was never prepared for air attacks. Although a major British industrial centre it was not listed as a priority simply because in 1939 when war began we were beyond the range of the German bombers. That all changed in the summer of 1940 when the Germans marched into France, Belgium and the Low Countries.

This is my account of the Belfast Blitz.
Tuesday, April 15, 1941, was Easter. The people of Belfast were enjoying a day off work.
That afternoon it’s unlikely anyone noticed the lone German reconnaissance plane flying high overhead, a harbinger of things to come in the relaxed city below enjoying the holiday. Just hours away in occupied Europe, the winds of war were turning in our direction as more than two hundred planes prepared for take off on runways in France and the lowlands of Holland. Pilots anxiously awaited the signal to go, their target that fateful night, Belfast.
The advancing bombers were made up of Heinkel 111s, Junkers 88s and Dorniers. The Junkers alone could carry in excess of a 3,000-pound bomb load. City sirens began wailing shortly before ten thirty that evening. The bombers approached the city from the north, sweeping in low between the Divis and Black Mountains. The first wave dropped incendiary flares across the city, lighting up the intended targets. They were relentlessly followed by wave after wave of bombers. The air was suddenly filled with incendiaries, high explosives and mines. The shipyards put up a huge smokescreen, attempting to disguise their location. A Royal Naval cruiser, repairing in the yard, joined the defence of the city, her guns blazing into the night. All night and into the early dawn the bombs rained down. The Germans methodically razed factories, mills, and homes. Telephone communications were knocked out and gas supplies were cut off as fires erupted. Leaking gas mains sent towering flames shooting high into the sky. The local fire brigades were soon overwhelmed, with water pressure too weak to stem the blazing inferno.
This night of bombing wasn’t restricted solely to Belfast. The towns of Londonderry, Newtownards and Bangor were also hit, but none as badly as Belfast.
Northumberland Street was just one of many without air raid shelters. People had to find their own means of protection. Pop and my two brothers sheltered under our heavy wooden kitchen table. Following civil defense instruction pamphlets, they hung blankets around the table to protect against flying glass and debris. My three sisters and I huddled in the cramped coal hole under the stairs. That dreadful night seemed to be unending, explosion after explosion crashing around us, sometimes far away, sometimes right outside our door. Each explosion was followed by a tremendous shock wave blasting heat and debris in its path. We heard breaking glass, and the rumble of walls collapsing while houses trembled and shook. The air was choked with smoke and dust from fires roaring everywhere. The night was filled with a thousand noises we couldn’t identify, buildings slowly caving in, bricks and beams tumbling into the streets. My terrified sisters were sure we would not survive the night. I suffered the least. I was afraid of course, but too young to really understand the danger. Bombs fell on the hapless city all night long. When the last bomber disappeared and the all clear sounded, it was after 5 am. The city had been under attack for more than six hours.
As the first grey streaks of dawn broke over the city, people began crawling from shelters and homes to a scene of devastation. Everyone was caked in filth, dust and debris, some wearing pajamas or nightshirts, blankets draped over their shoulders. They stood exhausted and trembling, children crying at their sides. Bewildered, they gazed in disbelief at the sight confronting them. Whole areas where once had stood familiar houses and buildings were now gone. All that remained were piles of smoking wreckage. Everywhere buildings blazed, a pall of smoke hung over the city blackening out the sky. It was difficult to breathe the smoke and dust-laden air. People tied cloths or rags over their noses in an attempt to avoid the smoke. The streets were littered with bricks, bits of concrete, shards of glass and wood splinters. We took stock of our house, or what was left of it. The front door still opened and closed, but no windows had survived. Remnants of torn curtains fluttered in the breeze; dishes, picture frames and ornaments lay smashed on the floor.
Ceiling plaster had fallen in on the kitchen, coating everything in a film of white powdery dust that was mixed with chimney soot. We were unable to brew a pot of tea; there was neither gas nor water. As people assessed their damage, news began to filter through from other parts of the city. A passing air raid warden told of a direct hit on the Percy Street shelter, where some 60 souls had died instantly. Stories such as this, all similar, all telling the same fateful tales, continued to pour in.
Belfast was given little time to recover as more nightly raids continued through the month of April and into the first days of May.
Over 900 people were killed, thousands more injured. The city was a catastrophe; it would take weeks and months to reach a semblance of order. Streets and roads were blocked, businesses closed, and services almost non-existent. No trams were running, water and gas supplies were cut off. The few shops that survived attempted to serve a starving population. Hospitals still able to function worked with wonderful efficiency, treating thousands of injuries under the most trying conditions. Mortuaries overflowed with the dead. Corpses were stacked in the Falls Road public baths and at St George’s Market. Public funerals had to be held, burying up to 150 bodies at a time. The supply of coffins quickly ran out.

In the early morning hours of May 4th the last and most savage raid set the entire city on fire. More bombs were dropped than in any previous raid. A Berlin radio announcer flying in one of the planes later stated that it was like looking down into a sea of flames. Of all British cities bombed during the war, the Belfast raids were the heaviest recorded. Only the city of London, suffered heavier and more sustained raids.

We Will Remember Them. I

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A Little Weekend Humour.

The personnel office received an email requesting a listing of the department staff broken down by age and sex.

The personnel office sent this reply:

“Attached is a list of our staff. We currently have no one broken down by age or sex. However, we have a few alcoholics.”

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Senior’s Logic

I went to the liquor store Monday afternoon on my bicycle, bought a bottle of Johnny Walker Black and put it in the bicycle basket.

As I was about to leave, I thought to myself that if I fell off the bicycle, the bottle would break. So I drank all the Johnny Walker before I cycled home.

It turned out to be a very good decision, because I fell off my bicycle seven times on the way home.

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂


I hate it when people are at your house and ask “Do you have a bathroom?”

“No, we pee in the yard!”

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Divorce Reason

A guy wants a divorce. He tells the judge, “I just can’t take it anymore. Every night she’s out until way after midnight just going from bar to bar.”

The judge asks, “What’s she doing?”

The guy answers, “Looking for me.”

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Natural Born

In one of K.C.’s classes, they were discussing the qualifications to be president of the United States. It was pretty simple – the candidate must be a natural born citizen of at least 35 years of age. However, one girl in the class immediately started in on how unfair was the requirement to be a natural born citizen.

In short, her opinion was that this requirement prevented many capable individuals from becoming president. K.C. and the class were just taking it in and letting her rant, but everyone’s jaw hit the floor when she wrapped up her argument by stating, “What makes a natural born citizen any more qualified to lead this country than one born by C-section?”

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Diagnosis (Thanks to Edwyn for this one)

Two medical students were walking along the street when they saw an old man walking with his legs spread apart. He was stiff-legged and walking slowly.

One student said to his friend: “I’m sure that poor old man has Peltry Syndrome. Those people walk just like that.”

The other student says: “No, I don’t think so. The old man surely has Zovitzki Syndrome. He walks slowly and his legs are apart, just as we learned in class.”

Since they couldn’t agree they decided to ask the old man.. They approached him and one of the students said to him, “We’re medical students and couldn’t help but notice the way you walk, but we couldn’t agree on the syndrome you might have. Could you tell us what it is?”

The old man said, “I’ll tell you, but first you tell me what you two fine medical students think.”

The first student said, “I think it’s Peltry Syndrome.” The old man said, “You thought – but you are wrong.”

The other student said, “I think you have Zovitzki Syndrome.” The old man said, “You thought – but you are wrong.”

So they asked him, “Well, old timer, what do you have?”

The old man said, “I thought it was GAS – but I was wrong, too!”

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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One of the First V1 Flying bombs

Londoners went about their business, happily speculating that the war was won. People no longer feared danger from the skies with the same intensity has had been the case during the blitz. Hitler however, held a different view of who was winning. On June 13, 1944, London experienced the first of Germany’s vengeance weapons. V1 flying bombs began falling on the city and surrounding areas. It was a confusing new experience, unlike any previous bombing raids. The new weapons came by night and day, giving little or no warning. Citizens could no longer rely on the warning sirens. Over the next 80 days this terror bombing campaign filled the skies. London suffered hits from approximately two hundred each day. In total, Germany launched some eight thousand V1s at England. The attacks continued until the launch bases were overrun by advancing Allied troops at the end of March 1945.
Over 6,000 civilians lost their lives and almost 18,000 were injured before this phase of war ended. The V1 could actually be seen during the daylight hours and its motor was clearly audible. Indeed, as long as one heard the motor running it was okay. The danger began when it stopped. The bomb immediately started a nosedive to its target, taking about 12 seconds from engine cut-out to impact. The warheads carried approximately 1,800 pounds of high explosive, causing massive destruction wherever they landed.
During this time Lily and I had been living in Padstow, while her husband was training for the Normandy landings. Of course at the time we had no idea what was happening or why the village was a restricted zone. Once admitted one could not leave.
Just weeks before the first flying bombs struck London, we had received permission to move to Padstow. As it was considered a temporary move to a restricted area, we were allowed only one suitcase. Expecting to return in a month or two we left our furnishings and belongings in the flat.
A few days after the first rockets fell on London, our flat in Seven Kings suffered a direct hit. Where the house had once stood remained only a huge crater. The Anderson shelter in the garden, in which we’d spent so many nights, had disappeared. Our landlord was lucky to have survived, as he was working night shift when the bomb hit. He later wrote Lily, saying how fortunate we were to have moved. We lost everything, save the few articles taken with us in our suitcase. The unexpected move to Padstow saved our lives, and for that, I thank God.

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My War Wound???

We had moved to Lowestoft in September 1944 after losing everything in the V1 hit to our flat in London. Lily’s husband was being sent to the Far East to the Japanese theatre of war. We rented a bed sitter on a quiet street near the harbour. One lovely warm and sunny August day with our windows open to the air, we heard a commotions in the street. Going outside we saw everyone with their head tilted upward. They were looking at a German V1 flying bomb. We could hear the engine and see the sun glimmering of the bomb casing. As long as we could hear the engine it was alright. When it stopped that was the time to take cover. However on that sunny day it keep flying toward London. I was watching with great fascination with my right hand in the front door jamb. Suddenly a gust of wind blew the door shut. People in the street must have thought the doodlebug had hit me, I was screaming at the top of my lungs. My middle finger was all but crushed. Lily rushed me off to the local hospital. The nurse had a lot of trouble getting me to open my hand. She declared nothing was broken and my finger would recover in time. She dressed the damaged finger and said I had been very lucky, I didn’t think I was very lucky. In time the finger did heal and was mostly back to normal. I did over a very long time lose the finger nail of my middle finger, the nail hung loose and Lily wanted to cut it off, but would t let her near it. That was an ordeal on its own, but finally I awoke one morning to find it gone. When the new nail finally grew back it was slightly deformed. Hence,  my war wound at the hands of the Germans!

God Bless and keep reading

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The Blitz, Shingles and a sausage!!!!! circa 1943.

Air raids became a daily part of life, seemingly every night we ended up in the shelter. Ours was an Anderson shelter, a very common type that dotted the English landscape. There were thousands in back gardens all across the nation, their popularity probably due to being quick and easy to erect. The installation started by digging a pit about four feet deep, though the overall dimensions of each shelter varied with the size of the family using it.
The shelters consisted of an arched corrugated tin roof, which, once in place, was partly covered with soil. The entranceway was sandbagged with steps leading down to the interior. It had a stout wooden door, and, inside, planks that covered the usually wet ground. The meagre furnishings consisted of a couple of benches, sometimes fashioned as bunk beds. For lighting we used matches, candles, or a torch if we had batteries. None of these items were plentiful, so we mostly sat in the dark. Sometimes people ran an electric cord out from the house. However, for several reasons, it was not considered a wise way to light a shelter.
Sitting through the long nights in cold and damp shelters was uncomfortable and frightening. The noise of bombs exploding, anti aircraft guns firing and the general mayhem made it impossible to sleep. In daylight raids, which thankfully didn’t occurred too often, we were sometimes caught in the open. At times like this we scrambled to find the nearest shelter. Usually, everyone ended up in an underground tube station. Dreadfully overcrowded, they were smelly and stifling hot. We either had to stand or sit on dirty concrete platforms and passageway floors.
During this time, I began suffering from severe headaches and high fever. My appetite was gone and I complained of an upset stomach. I couldn’t stop scratching my head, get comfortable or fall asleep, I rapidly became very irritable. Lily carefully inspected my scalp, and found a nasty mess of blisters and scabs. She had no idea what they were, but realized it was serious enough to seek medical attention.
Arranging to see a doctor in wartime wasn’t easy. Hospitals and medical staff were constantly swamped with a multitude of injuries from raids, fires and explosions. Lily took me to a local hospital hoping to find help. We ended up sitting in a crowded hallway with hundreds of others, all seeking the same help. Surprisingly, our wait was short. A passing nurse noticed me curled up on Lily’s lap and stopped to ask what was wrong. Lily explained about the sores on my head. Inspection of my scalp caused an immediate reaction and I was promptly moved to a nearby examination room. The nurse wasn’t sure what I had, but quite certain it was contagious. Shortly after, a doctor came in to look at me, and his brief examination revealed I had shingles. He explained it was a disease similar to the virus causing chickenpox, in medical terms it was known as “Varicella Zoster Virus”. In 1943, shingles was considered very serious, and in elderly people it was often fatal. The sores and rash were more commonly found on the trunk or torso of the body. It was the first time the doctor had seen it on a child’s head, and he told Lily it was a disease rarely ever found in children at all. I was at once admitted to the hospital, and remained there for a week.
My first hospital experience wasn’t fun.. I was poked, prodded and painfully jabbed by nurses administering injections. The worst thing of all was the embarrassment of having them bathe me. My bed was tucked into a far corner of the ward with screens to hide me from the other patients. In the crowded wartime conditions this was as close as they could come to proper isolation. It wasn’t all bad: The food was marvellous. Supper on my second night came with a real sausage, which was absolutely delicious. I say real sausage, but in truth I had never seen one before, so really couldn’t be sure.

God Bless and keep reading. (ps the boy in the hospital bed is not me)

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Going to the movies! memories of the 2nd World War.

On the last night of Ben’s leave he took us to the cinema. Going to the pictures was an exciting and rare treat. During the early war years, when the blitz was in full swing, cinemas were shut down. It was too dangerous for groups of people to gather in one place.
Heading home that night after the show, I was happily riding on Ben’s shoulders and Lily was walking at his side when the sirens began to wail. For some reason, Ben decided it was a siren test, not a raid. Tests were carried out sometimes, but I could never tell which was which. Ignoring the noise, we continued walking and talking with not a care in the world. Suddenly, planes were overhead, and then we heard the whistling of falling bombs. Ben yelled for Lily to drop to the pavement, at the same time dropping with me still on his shoulders. I crashed hard onto the cold concrete hitting my nose and making it bleed. Already extremely frightened, the sight of blood didn’t help matters. Ben quickly gathered us close and we lay very still.
Bombs were exploding very near as we huddled tightly together, pressing ourselves into the pavement. We heard the thud of a bomb landing in a garden just a few feet from where we lay. Instinctively, we braced for the coming blast, but incredibly it didn’t explode. We didn’t hang around to find out why. In seconds we were up and racing for the nearest shelter. Ben carried me under his arm and pulled Lily along beside him. Bleeding from my nose, scared and crying. I must have looked like a real casualty. An ARP warden standing in the entrance of an underground shelter waved us toward him. He anxiously urged us to hurry before the next wave arrived. Reaching the entrance, Lily quickly grabbed me and ducked inside, leaving poor Ben to explain to the angry warden why we’d failed to heed the siren. That night remains in my memory as a close call, we survived only because the bomb failed to explode.
Please note there is no connection between Lily’s husband’s name, Ben and my nickname, also Ben, mine was picked up years later years later whilst serving in the Royal Navy Submarine Service.   God Bless and keep reading.

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A War time Christmas Story

Continuing my wartime experiences leading up to Remembrance Day.

Christmas of 1942 was the first year I really began to understand what it was all about. As the special day approached, I grew more and more excited. On Christmas Eve Lily put me to bed early with a warning that Father Christmas would not come if I was awake. Falling asleep on this particular night wasn’t easy for an excited little boy. I lay in bed worrying what might happen if he arrived and found me still awake. In my very active imagination, the events taking place on that night would for many years remain real rather than a dream. First, I would hear a strange noise outside my bedroom window. My bed was against the window, making it easy to stand and peer into the dark night sky. The darkness was routinely broken by the air defence posts sweeping the sky with powerful beams from searchlights.. In one of these bright rays I would see something so incredulous I hardly dared to believe my eyes. There was Father Christmas, driving his sleigh through the sky, complete with six reindeer. I suddenly became very scared. Had he seen me in the window? Would he still come, knowing I was awake? At that point I dived under the covers and out of sight. I prayed he hadn’t spotted me, and laid very still, hardly breathing and trying very hard to fall asleep. It must have worked, for the next thing I remember is Lily waking me, telling me to come see what Father Christmas had brought me. All my life, I have retained the wonderful memory of that magical night. Was it merely a child’s imagination. Of course, nevertheless I always enjoyed telling my own two girls this wonderful story. God Bless and keep reading.

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