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Vol VII, No 5

Summer 2009

Whitehall, June 2009

In This Issue

65th Anniversary events

Editorial Here we are, mid-way through the 65th anniversary year, and what a year it has been so far, a time of celebration but mixed with sadness as the life of the Normandy Veterans Association as a national body draws to a close. But, is the Norwich & District branch downhearted? NO! As our Secretary has made clear, life for the Norwich Normandy Veterans goes on and we will continue to be an active branch long after the National Council has hung up its spurs. The future looks good and it really is a privilege for Sarah and I to be involved in your activities. In this edition you can read about the events of the year so far, Gunton Hall, Whitehall and of course the return trip to Normandy. Sadly we were unable to join the branch in France as we had hoped, but did see much of the coverage on the BBC and it was clear that the spirit for which the NVA is renowned was much in evidence. So as far as Norfolk is concerned, the Normandy Veterans are very much alive and kicking for a good few years yet. Now that is good news! Paul and Sarah McAllister

The opinions expressed in the Normandy Star are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policy and views of the Norwich & District Branch of the Normandy Veterans Association All copy, articles etc. for inclusion should be sent to the Editor Editor – Paul McAllister 12 Millside, Stalham, Norwic.h, Norfolk, N.R12 9PA Tel (01692) 583336 Email: Next Issue Winter 2009 1

Normandy Veterans Association Norwich & District Branch Officers and Committee Members 2009/2010 Chairman Vice Chairman Secretary/Treasurer Mrs K Burge F L Scott S D Valori J E Curson G M Holmes

P E Johnson. 98, St James Close, Norwich Norfolk. NR3 1PE Tel: 01603-610554 L W Mann. 2 Parana Close, Sprowston, Norwich.NR7 8BQ Tel; 01603-424526 J S Woods 50, Aylsham Road, Norwich Norfolk. NR3 3ES Tel: 01603-627706 5 Runcton Close West Earlham Norwich Norfolk .NR5 8RQ Tel: 01603-456256 11 Fairholme Close Newton St Faith Norwich. NR10 3LL Tel: 01603-898128 7 Upton Close Norwich Norfolk NR4 7PD Tel: 01603- 454712 10 Ashby Court, Ashby Street Norwich NR1 3PH Tel: 01603-219915 169 Palgrave Road Gt. Yarmouth , Norfolk NR30 1QD Tel :01493-858319

Other Officers and Appointments Welfare Officer , Public Relations

Vice Chairman

Ass Secretary

Mrs S McAllister 12, Millside, Stalham Norwich NR12 9PA Tel: 01692-583336

Standard Bearer/ Parade Marshal

Paul McAllister 12 Millside Stalham Norwich NR12 9PA Tel: 10692-583336

Res Standard Bearer

G V Claxton 7 Cubitt Close Bintree Dereham Norfolk NR20 5NH Tel: Ex.d.



M J Baker, 106 Third Avenue, Gillingham, Kent, ME7 2LU. Tel: (01634) 851763


Chairman’s Report

Well fellow Veterans, as always the old clock keeps ticking away. The AGM has been and gone once more. I must say how impressed I was with the turn out of our veterans at Gunton Hall and thanks as always to our hard working Honorary Secretary for all the sterling work that he does for us all and thanks to all our committee members who have also been on the ball working hard for all our benefits. I hope that you will forgive me for not doing any ring rounds for our sick members but due to my own ill health I have been unable to perform my duties in that area. On this note I would like to ask if any member could take over my post as Welfare Officer. (Position now held by Vice Chairman, Len Mann). I ask this because my health which is now worse than ever. Thank goodness for my wife who has been more than great and for all those veterans who have helped me in one way or another? I, of course will help in any way that I can and whenever I can. Thanks for such a great turn out again at Gunton Hall. Well Done, Veterans! We still take some beating and as always our Vicar was great! I noticed that he had a wet eye or two, but I can’t shout as I did too. May I just say how proud I am of all of you and honoured to be one of you and always your friend. Phil Johnson


Gunton Hall 2009 My Diary for GUNTON HALL 65th Anniversary week 2009 Monday 23rd March 2009 As now seems the norm the weather was awful! It was wet, cold and windy and yet Gunton Hall beckoned. We were still looking forward to meeting up with old friends. Despite encountering a traffic accident enroute and being diverted, we arrived at 3.15pm. There to greet us in reception was our secretary Jack Woods along with Jean and a few minutes later after booking in we were settled into our nearby chalets. After unpacking we headed for the Regency Room to wait for dinner time and chatted to friends – it didn’t seem a year since we last met. We were entertained by a member of staff who was showing us some impressive card tricks, he was going round from table to table and even though we were so close it was still a mystery to us! At dinner the room was ‘heaving’ with a comforting buzz of chatter and people greeting one another. Dinner was excellent as always. We continued to chatter and missed the time slot for buying the evening bingo tickets – still never mind the company was good. Later we made our way to the Pavilion for the evening entertainment. A lively evening of 30’s and 40’s music provided by the Gunton Entertainment team. Tuesday 24th March - the weather is still windy and cold but bright. Following a leisurely but hearty breakfast we bought a morning paper and raffle tickets from Kitty in the café area. Here we 4

Photos: Kitty Burge 5

learnt that following a fall in the chalet the previous night Jean had been taken to the local hospital where it was confirmed by x-ray she had broken her collar bone. (Too much celebration for Jack’s birthday we mused!) In the main hall a display of large model aircraft made and supplied by Tony Nelson caught the eye. He very generously collected towards the return to France campaign. George Holmes brought some of his memorabilia to make a very interesting display. Together a total of over £400 was raised by their efforts. Later at 2.30pm we gathered in the Regency Room where our patron Jean Pierre Benamou gave a very interesting talk about France and the effects of D-Day in the Normandy region. Following this he took questions from the room. Jean Pierre is a very knowledgeable historian with a keen interest in preserving the friendship between the French and their allies. After a welcome cup of tea we returned to our chalet to change for dinner. 8.45pm we played a short game of bingo and watched the early evening dancers dancing to the music of the house band Blue Diamond. At 10pm Kim Jackson (a visiting artiste) entertained us with songs of the 40’s. The evening ended with Blue Diamond and further ballroom dancing. In the Regency Room Peter Griggs was entertaining. Wednesday 25th March – sunny, but still cold and breezy. Following breakfast we purchased the daily raffle in the café area and were looking forward to the afternoon when the Brigade of the Band of Gurkhas would be entertaining us. Jack Woods introduced me to Wayne Hopla (the musical director for the Gurkhas) and Ed Slater (NVA National President), he also arranged for me to meet the press. By 1pm the band were bringing in their equipment and the standard bearers started to ‘book in’, quite a hive of activity. The 6


Pavilion was quickly filled ahead of time where they were due to commence their performance at 2.30pm. The local press arrived and duly spoke to Jack Woods, Ed Slater, myself and some of the veterans for an article that appeared in the local papers on Friday. The concert was much more than just a concert, the 30 strong band entertained us with folk dancing and popular music from Nepal as well as the traditional Kukri sword dance. An element of comedy was introduced and there were solo performances and a popular ‘sing-a-long’ with songs from ‘Oliver’ and songs that won the war, also included were standard ‘Last night of the Proms’ songs complete with flag waving. Of course the Gurkhas were immaculately turned out and their musical ability was to be envied. All in all a truly wonderful afternoon of entertainment. Even their musical director asked if they were coming back next year – if only. At 4.30pm 8 standards were paraded for the Sunset ceremony. Following an excellent dinner and the usual game of bingo, social dancing took place until the cabaret at 9.45pm. This evening a young man called Mark Walsh entertained us with his ukulele and George Formby style humour; following him A J Williams gave us some 60’s style songs. Thursday 26th March – it is cooler damp and breezy. After breakfast Kitty and Jean held their usual raffle (I’m pleased to say that I am a lucky winner today) at 11am. We attended the flower arranging demonstration and at 12noon we were asked to meet in the Regency bar to bid farewell to Jean Pierre and his wife Monique. Jean Pierre very kindly bought a drink for all the Norwich veterans and Jack Woods made a short speech thanking them for their support and for coming. Unfortunately, Jean Pierre and Monique were unable to stay for the Service of Remembrance as they needed to leave to get the ferry back to France. They replied by thanking us for inviting them and said their farewells. 8


By 1.30pm the standard bearers were congregating in readiness for the Service of Remembrance. Paul McAllister was our Parade Marshall for the afternoon. The service commenced with the standards being paraded to ‘I Vow to Thee my Country’ and the principal Normandy Veterans Association standard was taken into care for the duration of the service. The 65th Service was conducted by Reverend Tom Hawthorn MBE music was provided by Terry Hepworth and the reading from Revelations 21 v 1-7 was read by Jack Woods. A collection was taken in aid of S.S.A.F.A during the hymn O Valiant Hearts. The Address and Prayers followed by the hymn ‘Now Thank we all our God’, led us to the Act of Commemoration, spoken by Phil Johnson, and the Last Post and Reveille. A lone piper played for the duration of the two minutes silence. The National Anthem was sung and the Blessing given. The Standards then formed a guard of honour for the congregation to leave the Pavilion to the sound of the lone piper. The 65th Anniversary Service had been a very touching and poignant farewell. After dinner the early evening cabaret was songs from the musicals followed by Bingo. The evening cabaret finale was again a war-time sing-a-long complete with flags. Auld Lang Syne completed the evening. Friday 27th March – cool but dry All too soon Friday morning saw us saying our farewells. Lots of us will meet again in June but for some this may be the last time we meet up, however, they will remain in our hearts and prayers and you never know – maybe next year?

Karen Browes-Walker



Dear Mr Woods RE: Lt William Austin Frederick (Austin) Maynard Liaison Officer Div HQ 3rd Division 1944 My mother has spoken with you a little while ago on the phone. Thank you for sending a previous copy of the magazine and information about membership. I noticed you have an email address so thought I would send an email and we will forward the forms on by post. After being in Normandy for the commemorative events a few weeks ago we are both keen to become associate members of the NVA. I was also up in London last week for the service at the Cenotaph. My father wrote his memoirs and I have been trying to piece together more about his story since his death a few years ago. After being at The National Archives a couple of weeks ago researching the 1944 files it was so informative and moving to hear the veteran’s accounts while in Normandy. My father W A F Maynard was a Lieutenant in 1944 and served as a Liaison Officer for 3rd British Divisional Headquarters. He was ADC with General Ramsden and when Rennie took over he continued with Headquarters as LO. I am also very keen to find out more about the period of training and preparation prior to D Day. My father mentions being at Troon and Inverness 19431944. My father said that he landed on Lion Sur Mer and I have been trying to discover more about the landings. This site appears to have been slightly over to the west of La Breche which was where the records at The National Archives say the boats were aiming. However a number of the veterans did speak of the general chaos on the day and if there was a jam on a particular 11

part of the beach it may be that the landing craft were keen to find any available space. From some books I have seen it appears that some brigades were landed on the western side of the beach by Lion Sur Mer. He sailed with HMS Largs on 5th June and he mentions in his memoirs that he was on Largs again after D Day for a few days to give more information to Admiral Talbot on Largs about military operations. A couple of years ago I visited Hermanville with my mother to discover where the divisional Headquarters was and the orchard that he mentioned, where the camp was set up. There is a plaque commemorating the site of the Headquarters at the Mairie. I am still trying to confirm the site of the orchard. The files at The National Archives mention that the Headquarters moved to Colleville (now Montgomery). I have also been trying to discover more about the progress of the 3rd Division through Normandy. My father's memoirs include a few intelligence reports he wrote and also a plan for a Divisional Headquarters that was sited by the River Orne but I haven't yet been able to determine where it was exactly. In December my father joined the 43rd (Wessex) Division with the 7th Hampshires. In his memoirs he mentions passing through Turnhout, Nijmegen and the Reichswald Forest. He went through to Germany but was invalided back to England in 1945. I would be very interested to know if there is anyone who has looked into any of these areas with the Norwich NVA or if there are any veterans who landed on Sword/ served with 3rd Division or 43rd (Wessex) Division. If there is anyone who has an interest I would be very willing to share the relevant pages of my father's memoirs and it would be a privilege to have contact with anyone to find out more. My mother and I hope to go to the events at Duxford on September 13th. If you know anything further about this I would be very grateful. I am very keen to continue to try to piece more of my father’s story together with the official records and other veteran’s 12

accounts. I feel it is so important to put together the accounts of veterans who lived through so much and did so much for us all today. I would be very interested to hear more about the NVA's work and if you have any suggestions about continuing to put the stories together. Many thanks for any suggestions you might have and in the meantime I am very much looking forward to hearing more about the NVA. My mother and I will be sending you our form for membership shortly. Yours sincerely

Katie Maynard, 2 Saxon Street, Cambridge CB2 1HN 01223 315235

Salute ! We could not let this edition of the Normandy Star go by without just a small mention of a celebrity in our midst. As those who attended the Normandy pilgrimage, and many that did not, will know, our Own Hon. Branch Secretary Mr Jack Woods has been made an Officer the Legion d’honneur by the French Government in recognition of his many years of hard work and loyal service to the Normandy Veterans Association, both here in Norfolk and nationally through such events as Gunton Hall. Such awards are not given lightly and I am sure you will all join with me in sending hearty congratulations to Jack for such a richly deserved award. He has joined a select band of nonFrench Nationals to be made Officers of the Legion d’honneur and this is an honour not just for Jack personally but also for Jean for the support that she undoubtedly gives him. Well done Jack, we are all proud of you! Paul McAllister


Jack Woods receiving the Legion d’Honneur from the French President


From the Secretary’s Chair The question being, where do I start? The answer, obviously, from where I finished last time and having finished with the 65th anniversary year appeal, so be it. The 65th anniversary appeal and all things 65th anniversary dominate, as they should, the thinking and happenings of all the events of 2009. Having got over a dismal Xmas (I got a bug) and an uneventful New Year it was time to get down to planning the year’s programme. You will notice that I have already mentioned the 65th a couple of times; this is because of the importance I attach to it. Planning consists of an appeal for funds to the general public and the Lottery (Awards for All). Public Relations are high on the agenda as are school visits, with a visit to Hockering Primary School arranged for the 26th January. This was carried out by Siro Valori and John Curson, me being away from home, and from what I gather very successfully at that. The schools programme is now called Schools Initiative, with the accent on the Young Historian Project, plus visits as requested. During February, work continued on the Gunton Hall Spring Break with confirmation of the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas for Veterans Day and Rev Tom Hawthorn and Terry Hepworth for Remembrance Day and with letters being sent to Association secretaries and Standard Bearers for both days. Also in February the orders of service were produced and I was able to obtain the services of a Piper. The collections programme is being put together by Sarah and 1000 Button Badges with the 65th motif have been purchased to take the place of stickers for the children (the badges to be given to the parents not the children - public health and safety!!!). The Awards for All document was completed with Dr Ian Gibson MP being our referee and stating his support for our cause. Things were beginning to look up. On a personal note, Warm Front representatives visited me to see how they could help me keep warm and couldn’t, complete waste of a morning. This followed by a telephone call supposedly from the Warm Front Team trying to con my particulars out of 15

me, what a life! On the 21st February we recorded the death of Mary Wood, the widow of our late Treasurer Arthur Wood. Mary was cremated on the 9th March, Vice Chairman Len Mann and myself attending the cremation. On the 25th February Len Mann, John Curson and myself made a school visit to George White Junior School where we received a cheque valued £60 .40 towards the appeal fund, this amount collected by the children themselves. This brought the total collected up to £3500, below what was anticipated but still slowly progressing. The event received publicity with photos. On the 27th February the Forum was booked for a three-day exhibition at the cost of £552 Into March and we received a boost to our funding programme with an excellent write-up in the Evening News and Norwich Spiritualist Church gave the proceeds of an evening of clairvoyance to the appeal fund, total £358.20 On the 7th March we recorded the death of Curly Brighten who had been ill for some time. Meanwhile 200 enamelled lapel badges with the 65th motif were purchased. These would be sold for £2 each for members and £3 for non-members. When put on sale, these were quickly sold and a further 200 have been ordered. An attempt to contact Ernie Mears failed; he is possibly still in hospital On the 23rd March, my 85th birthday, we commenced our 19th visit to Gunton Hall for the traditional Spring Break and what a Break it turned out to be. This was our final Gunton Hall coinciding with the 65th anniversary year. The Branch party, 41 strong, was well subsidized with hospitality. We welcomed the presence of our Patron, Jean-Pierre Benamou with his attractive wife Monique. From the National Council we welcomed Chairman Ed Slater and Ann and Treasurer George Batts, from the Spirit of Normandy Trust Ian & Mary Stewart, and Normandy Liaison Officer Dennis 16

Buston and his wife Margaret, all of who seemingly thoroughly enjoyed themselves. 350 people in total attended the Break of which just about half were Normandy Veterans, their spouses, friends and carers. The highlights were The Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas who were excellent and the Remembrance Service, which was poignant. Tony Nelson displayed his model aircraft and George Holmes gave an excellent show of memorabilia. A special mention must be made of the ladies who gave of their time and assistance; Beryl Johnson, Kitty Burge, Jean Chapman Eve Royal and Jean Chambers What would we do without them? Thanks are also due to Frank Baker who took all the photographs and sent them to me on a disc. This was our final year and the 65th anniversary year as well, so we went out on a high. Farewell Gunton Hall, you will be missed I had a letter from the Gurkha Welfare Trust deploring the demise of the Branch at the end of this year. Somehow we don’t seem to have got the point over that we are not disbanding, just changing. Anyway it was decided to continue to support the Gurkha Welfare Trust with our annual donation of £200.which plus donations received at the Band concert at Gunton Hall by members of their local branch totalled £820. The collection at the Remembrance Service for SSAFA Forces Help raised £214.72. We press on. The Annual General Meeting being on the 8th April there was much to do. Unfortunately our Life President was unable to attend owing to his health problems so the Chairman conducted the meeting. All the Officers, with the exception of the Chairman relinquishing the position of Welfare Officer and the Vice Chairman stepping in to the breach, were elected en bloc as were the Committee persons. There remained one vacancy on committee which position needs to be filled as soon as possible The Secretary/Treasurer remained Publicity Officer. Sarah McAllister remained in the position of Assistant Secretary, Kitty Burge as Social Secretary. Paul McAllister was re-appointed Standard Bearer, acting as Parade Marshal where appropriate with Geoff Claxton and Malcolm Baker as Reserves. The 17

appointments of escorts to the Standard were abolished. The Annual Accounts, having been distributed to the meeting in advance, were accepted unanimously. After the meeting tea and coffee was served and a good raffle was conducted. No relenting, the next three days were spent on a Publicity Exercise with an exhibition in Norwich Forum. I had been a bit apprehensive as to how this would go, I needn’t have worried, it went excellently with a good number of members helping to man the exhibits. In support were exhibits from the Royal Naval Association, Royal Marines Association and the Royal Corps of Signals Association. My heartfelt thanks go to everybody who took part, especially Andrew Wright who bailed me out by taking me home afterwards with all the gear. The public were as usual very generous, both there and outside on the Saturday where we held our annual street collection. The result financially brought our appeal up to the £5000 mark. In April we recorded the death of Raymond (Dick) Thorpe. Dick had been around for as long as I can remember, although he lived away in the Downham Market area, he still supported the special events such as the annual dinner, Gunton Hall etc. I record also the deaths of James Rivett and Irene (Betty) Larkin, widow of Cyril Larkin. Overlord appeal. National Secretary Peter L Hodge launched an appeal in order to provide funds for the 65th anniversary celebrations in Normandy this year. With the help of businessman Trevor Beattie and comedian Eddie Izzard who shared the same vision his target was obtained. As a further result of their endeavours every registered Normandy veteran returning to Normandy in June for the celebrations will receive a bonus of £330. Collections The collections programme commenced this year at Rainbow Stores Carlton Colville followed by Norwich Street collection and Sainsbury’s William Frost Way. Our target for this year is £5000, not easy to get with the shortage of collectors. 18

Anyway we are away to a good start and hope to finally obtain our target. If any of you feel like giving a couple of hours to the cause, contact Sarah, she’ll sort you out. Schools initiative The next schools visits are Robert Kett Junior on the 12th June when we meet the party going to Normandy in July, and Stalham Junior on the 18th June. If anybody wishes to take part in schools visits contact Sarah. The Branch is now in the position to e-mail schools with information about the Young Historian Project, watch this space. There’s a lot going on this year already, as it is probably obvious to you that there would have been. I am ending my report here although by the time you read it more water will have flowed under the bridges. We’ll deal with it next time. Mostly we are doing alright, soldiering on as it were. My thoughts go with those of you may be finding things a bit difficult nowadays. All of you continue to take very good care of yourselves. Jack S Woods, Branch Secretary


Whitehall This year’s service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph promised to be quite an occasion, since it was to be the last event of its type organised by the National Association. As a result is seemed there was more interest in attending this year and the branch sent one of its biggest contingents for several years. From a personal point of view, this year I was unable to take my normal position as Standard Bearer, having had an unfortunate incident on June 5th with one of our Police dogs, who decided to take a rather large bite out of me and confined me to spending the D-Day anniversary in hospital. As a result I am reduced, albeit temporarily, to having one good arm for the next month or so! This meant that I had to step back from Standard Bearing duties, but fortunately my good friend, fellow living history enthusiast and Branch Associate member Malcolm Baker stepped into the breach to take my place for the day and made his own way up from his home in Kent especially for the event. Well done that man! Despite self-confessed nerves he performed magnificently and did us proud, a better replacement I could not have wished for. Despite my disappointment at being confined to the sidelines it did give me the opportunity to view the parade from outside for once. We set off early from Norwich with David our Spratt’s coach driver at the wheel once more. A brief comfort stop en route at Stansted and we arrived in London at 12 midday. This gave time to have a look around, some food and refreshment, so whilst Sarah and my mum took the children for a look at St James’s Park, for me it was off to the pub! Here I meet with the rest of our living history group contingent, Ed, Tony & Steve Gould, who had made their own way to London from Essex. A convivial hour was spent in the pub, during which time we chatted to many tourists and visitors who were very interested to know what was going on, including some representatives of the 20


War Widows Association who had come to offer their support. It was soon time to RV in King Charles Street for the parade. The atmosphere was as usual warm and friendly and it was obvious that everyone was in high spirits. Having left Malcolm to his nerves we headed off to find a good vantage point from which to watch proceedings, we could not have found better – directly opposite the Cenotaph. A hearty crowd was assembled and here again the atmosphere was noticeable – everyone chatting freely and in good form, a real sense that everyone had come together to cheer the Veterans on and show their appreciation. The media were well in evidence and yours truly was briefly interviewed by Sky News as to why I was there in Whitehall on this day. Was it broadcast? I don’t know, we don’t get Sky television. Very soon we could hear the sounds of the Band of the Welsh Guards and behind them the massed Standards and Veterans approached the Cenotaph. What an inspiring sight! A short but evocative service followed and I will freely admit that I found the whole proceedings very emotional. Looking around me I was by no means alone and there was many a moist eye amongst the onlookers, of all ages, male and female. The weather by this time had become decidedly warm and this, coupled with the emotion of the day, began to take its toll on some of the assembled Veterans and some more elderly members of the watching crowd. I saw several collapsed on the ground as the service progressed, but were quickly and professionally tended to by St John’s Ambulance and the Metropolitan Police, both of whom did a sterling job. Malcolm Baker had obviously got into his stride by this point for he was the consummate professional Standard Bearer, his immaculate turnout and bearing is a credit to someone who, I am sure he will not mind me saying, has never personally served in the Armed Forces. Time then for the march-off and as the band struck up and the assembled parade stepped off, there was rapturous applause and cheers from all who were watching. We followed the parade 22


back to King Charles Street, where things seemed to go slightly awry! Speeches from dignitaries seemed, forgive me for saying it, to go on rather too long for the assembled veterans given the hot weather, and the parade seemed to drift off rather than dismiss. Far from being a criticism, it just added to the peculiar and rather wonderful atmosphere of the day; spontaneous outbursts of singing, much laughing, more than a few tears, but all together a spirit of comradeship which you could not better. The Garrison Sergeant Major even produced his bagpipes and gave an impromptu performance, now you don’t get that on Trooping the Colour! All too soon it was time to depart and we bid our farewells. Despite it being, supposedly, the last parade, I was left with a nagging feeling that it might not be, there was certainly no air of sadness or inevitability that the final curtain was approaching, far from it and I think we all left in high spirits. The journey home was broken by a stop at The Green Man Public House at Six Mile Bottom near Newmarket, for our now customary bangers and mash tea. The food was up to its normal high standard and enjoyed by all. It was a tired but happy band that arrived back at Norwich TA Centre at 8pm, then off to our respective homes. My personal thoughts were of a wonderful day, the stuff of which memories are made. My thanks to all who attended for making it a special day. See you next year? Who knows……

Paul McAllister



All members are reminded that subscriptions for 2009 are now due at a rate of £5 per person (£10 per couple). All subscription monies to be sent to the Assistant Secretary, Sarah McAllister, at 12 Millside, Stalham, Norwich, Norfolk, NR12 9PA. Cheques made payable to “NVA Norwich and District.” Membership cards will be forwarded to you with next edition of Normandy Star after payment is received, if you require it sooner please enclose a Stamped, Self-Addressed Envelope with your payment.

Branch Outings During the remainder of the year the Branch has organised several trips and events for the benefit of members. Many of the trips are heavily subsidised and therefore represent excellent value for money. Attendance on the trips is open to all members, both Veterans and Associates. if you are not a regular attendee at meetings but wish to be considered for any future branch trips, please contact the Social Secretary, Mrs Kitty Burge Your name will be added to a list of interested parties who will be contacted by Kitty direct as and when trips arise. Please remember that places on trips are taken on a first-come, firstserved basis, therefore make your wishes known so as not to miss out.


Donations Thanks are due to the following individuals who have kindly donated to branch funds;

Anglia First Home Improvements Ltd Mr Fearn (Member of public) Miss S Proctor (Members of Public) Mr Proctor (Member of Public) Mr K Knowles Mr A F Wright Mr W D Irwin Mr B A Lammas Mr B J Hale Mr & Mrs Woodrow Mr C S Perry Mr F Dyke Mr K D Budgen Mr & Mrs R Bushell Mr & Mrs J Lawrence Mr A G Church Mr E A Ducker Mr & Mrs C Barrett Mr W G Brown Mr & Mrs Glendewar Mr W H Jones Mr & Mrs Finch Miss J Brock Mr & Mrs R Bradley Mr & Mrs R Thorpe Mr J A Rivett Mr T & Mr S Gould Mr & Mrs G Ford Mr C Pollard Mr J Hunter Mrs D Brown 26

Normandy 2009 th

65 Anniversary of D-Day Landings Norwich & District Normandy Veterans Association Tour rd th 3 – 8 June 2009

Wed. 3rd June – The pilgrimage of the Norwich Branch of the Normandy Veterans Association started early, on an overcast, cool morning from the T.A. Centre in Norwich. By 0715hrs the local press were present to take a photograph of the Veterans as they prepared to embark on their return to Normandy to honour those who gave their all for us. Once the luggage was safely stowed below and everyone had checked they had their passport in their hand luggage, we left Norwich at 0730 hrs. We made our way to Colchester to pick up the National Chairman, Eddie Slater and his wife Ann and continued our journey to Maidstone for a comfort stop and another pick up. By 1220hrs we were ahead of schedule and our driver David arranged for us take an earlier shuttle. At 1250hrs the train still had not moved - we were advised that it had broken down and we were to be off loaded and moved onto our scheduled train. We finally left at 1320hrs. Once on board the shuttle, the coach was decorated with union jack bunting and flags and Jack Woods gave us a briefing. The National Chairman explained how he had been asked to select 10 people nationally to receive the Legion d’Honneur (France’s highest military award) from these 10 people he had to select one person to represent England (Jack Woods) and along with one representative from America and France they were to receive an officer Legion d’Honneur award at a separate ceremony. By the time we had put our watches forward we arrived in France at 1455hrs. Following comfort stops at Baie de Somme and Pont Normandie we arrived at our hotel somewhat travel weary at 27

1950hrs. Dinner was at 2000hrs and with breakfast at 0700hrs we retired early. Thurs.4th June was a bright and sunny morning and following breakfast the coach left at 0900hrs. At this point I should explain that Operation Overlord was the beginning of the Western allied campaign on Normandy and involved thousands of committed individuals with many campaigns (eg. Operation Jupiter and Epsom) coming under the umbrella of Overlord. Today we visited Ranville Cemetery (7 miles north-east of Caen) it lies next to the village churchyard. A great many of the 2235 graves are men of the 6th Airborne Division, who landed by glider or parachute nearby to take vital bridges over the River Orne and Caen Canal. Ranville was the first village to be liberated in France when the bridge over the Caen Canal was captured intact in the early hours of 6th June 1944 by troops of the 6th Airborne Division. As with all the cemeteries I have seen in France it was immaculately kept and my father (the only red beret on our coach from 9th Para, 6th Airborne Division) put a cross on the grave of one of his comrades. As we returned to our coach we were stopped by Carl Shilletto (author and military historian) who has started a project for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission – ‘Fallen Heroes of Normandy’. The aim of the project is to compile a detailed record of photographs of individuals and information of those whose graves are now maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Normandy for the centenary in 2017. The project archives will be made accessible, online, for future generations. He is asking for photographs of individuals to be forwarded to or by post to Carl Shilletto, Military Historian, c/o The Regimental Museum, 3 Tower Street, York YO1 9SB. Carl came on board the coach and spoke to us about 28

his project. We continued our morning with a visit to Benouville and The Memorial Pegasus Museum and Pegasus Bridge. The museum is dedicated to the importance of the tasks of the 6th Airborne Division and the strategic position of Pegasus Bridge. The 6th Airborne Division was composed of over 10,000 troops (being paratroopers or glider-borne infantry). Following time in the museum and in the grounds outside where a Horsa glider and the Caen Canal Bridge are located we moved on to the Merville Battery. The Merville Battery was a German gun site, where it was thought a battery of at least 150mm guns were located. This fired directly onto the beaches around Ouistreham, so potentially threatening the landings on Sword Beach. Lieutenant Colonel Terence Otway and 9th Para were detailed to neutralise the battery and had trained extensively in England on a model of the battery site constructed in the Berkshire countryside. My father was one of the men who took the battery. To day, Merville Battery is open to the public and casemate no2 is now a memorial dedicated to the 9th Battalion, The Parachute Regiment. Many of our party stopped and listened to an account of the events of 5th/6th June and the newly installed audio visual display and saw photos of the young men involved in taking the Battery. Again my father was included in this. It was now time for lunch and we were dropped off in Ouistreham. The afternoon was taken up with a scenic route along the coast past Sword, Juno and Gold beaches to Arromanche. Along the way we stopped in order for members of the party to lay wreaths; they were supported by the Standard Bearers (Pat Hornby and John Bailey) and other members of the group. It was then back to the hotel in time to freshen up for dinner at 1930hrs. During the evening Jean explained to some us what their itinerary was over the following two days when Jack was to receive the Legion d’Honneur. 29

Friday 5th June, started cool but the temperature rose very quickly, it was to prove a very busy day. We travelled 8km to Colleville Montgomery for a Service of Commemoration. Here the statue of Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery is situated (on D514 road). The 1st Battalion the Suffolk Regiment liberated Colleville Montgomery and captured the nearby Hillmann Battery. By 1010hrs young people from three local schools (Gironde, Lucsur-mer and Colleville) together with British Air Cadets, Standard bearers and Veterans formed up and paraded to the area where the service was to be held, the band played as they marched. The local Gendarmerie closed the roads and coaches and reenactment group vehicles lined the streets, even some British Police from Hampshire were present. Unfortunately, the Order of Service had been left behind and the service continued without one. The Mayor of Colleville Montgomery, M. Guy Legrand made a speech of welcome and this was replied to by Major General Tony Richardson CB. MBE. after the service wreaths were laid and a fly past by a Lancaster bomber, accompanied by two Hurricane planes made an impressive but deafening appearance. The official party and children left and the Veterans marched behind the duty band and Standards to the square. After the pupils from Gironde did their piece, 450 veterans were presented with commemorative medals by the local dignitaries and children carrying the medals on purple velvet cushions; following the presentations a vin d’honneur was given. 6/7 chosen veterans then met with pupils from Luc-sur-mer and answered their many questions about the war. These children were given a 65th Anniversary lapel badge as a memento of the occasion. By this time we were running behind schedule and needed to get back to our coach to head to Hermanville to lay a wreath. Then it was back to the hotel, a few of us were dropped off at a bar in the village near to the hotel for some lunch and collected again in time to be taken to Caen Peace Museum on WW2 vehicles provided by the D-Day Academy. At 1600hrs a ceremony in the 30

English Garden was followed by tea in the Museum and Beating Retreat and Sunset. The WW2 vehicles returned to the hotel at 1930hrs and our Branch Patron, Jean Pierre Benamou, came too – he congratulated the Branch for the achievement Jack Woods had been given and bought drinks for everyone in celebration. We then went in for dinner everyone wondering how Jack and Jean were fairing. The Légion d’Honneur is awarded for excellent military conduct and was handed to the eight men and one woman at a ceremony in Paris. The woman was a nurse who tended the wounded. The male veterans were some of the first soldiers to land on the Normandy beaches on D-Day. The veterans who landed on June 6 1944 included George Batts, 83, of the Royal Engineers, from Maidstone, Kent, who arrived on Gold Beach on D-Day morning, and Ernest Brewer, 84, of the Royal Horse Artillery (7th Division), from Hertfordshire, who also disembarked on Gold Beach and went on to help to liberate Bayeux, and advanced through Belgium and the Netherlands all the way to Berlin. Vera Hay, 87, who joined the Queen Alexandra’s Nursing Corps in 1943 and lives in Cumbria, landed on Gold Beach and later treated wounded soldiers at Chateaux Busieux in Bayeux. Leslie Stocking, 83, of the Royal Engineers and from Shrewsbury, landed on the same beach on D-Day and helped to clear mines in France, the Netherlands and Germany. The others who received the Légion d’Honneur were Oliver Fox, 89, of the RAF, from Derby, who landed on Sword Beach three days after D-Day, Albert Holmshaw, 84, of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, from Nottinghamshire, who was also at Sword Beach, William Hornsby, 85, of the Royal Army Service Corps, from Newcastle, who landed on Gold Beach and later took part in the liberation of Bayeux, Joseph Oliver, 83, of the RAF, from Sunderland, who was at Juno Beach with Canadian forces, and Arthur Tarr, 85, of the Royal Navy, from Derby, who was on board a landing ship and was engaged in launching the first wave of Sherman tanks ashore on Omaha Beach on D-Day. 31

Jack Woods, 85, of the 9th Battalion The Royal Tank Regiment, from Norwich, Norfolk, who landed on Juno Beach on D-Day, received the higher rank of Officer of the Légion d’Honneur from President Sarkozy at a ceremony at the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer today. Jack landed on Juno Beach with Canadian forces and was immediately engaged in action. He went on to help to capture five bridges over the River Seine. Peter Hodge, Honorary General Secretary of the Normandy Veterans’ Association, said: “Sixty-five years ago they risked their lives in one of the biggest military operations ever undertaken. Since then, they have all worked tirelessly with the association to ensure that the events of June 6, 1944, are never forgotten.” Sat. 6th June started cloudy and cool but the sun soon shone through. At 0900hrs the coach left straight for the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery at Bayeux for the Service of Remembrance at 1130hrs. Sadly our coach was not allowed to go up to the cemetery and set us all down in the coach park in Bayeux town centre. It was a tremendous effort by everyone who had to walk or push the distance past the Museum to the Cemetery and I for one was extremely glad for the loan of a wheelchair which I shared with several others to relieve various ailments. Because of the importance of the VIP’s everyone needed to be in place well ahead of the Service start time. Again British Air Cadets and band marched and played. The cadets lined the main avenue for the Veterans and Standards to form up and followed up. I counted 65 Standards (very appropriate for the 65th Anniversary). When everyone was in place the VIP’s – HRH the Prince of Wales, The French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and his wife Penelope took their places and the Service of Remembrance commenced conducted by the retiring national chaplain, Reverend Ken Ward. Following the Readings and Talk, wreaths were laid by the Prince of Wales, Prime Minister Francois Fillon, National Chairman Ed Slater and members of the Normandy Veterans Association. The Act of Remembrance was followed by the Exhortation given by Ed 32

Slater (National Chairman NVA) and an immaculately played Last Post and Reveille. The hymn ‘Eternal Father’ and final prayers ended a touching Service, the French National Anthem and the British National Anthem was played, concluding with the Blessing. The Prince of Wales and Prime Minister Fillon and his wife then walked among the veterans pausing for photos and a brief chat. Dad and I were privileged to be among these. Once the official party had made their way through the crowds to their awaiting cavalcade the coaches started arriving, it was chaotic with several hundred people congregating to catch their coach. Whilst waiting for ours, Kitty noticed Eddie Izzard who is one of the main benefactors to the Normandy Veterans (donating £100,000 of his own money to enable Veterans to return for this important anniversary). I was delighted that Kitty was able to thank and show our appreciation to Eddie personally on our behalf for his generosity and thoughtfulness. He seemed genuinely pleased to have helped. Our coach still was not allowed up to the Cemetery and we made our way back to the Bayeux Museum car park, it had been a long hot morning and once everyone was aboard we headed for Arromanche. The British, Canadian and Free French Forces landed at Gold, Sword and Juno beaches. The British pre-built a huge harbour (known as the "Mulberry Harbour") and brought it from England in the first week of the invasion. The harbour was set up at Arromanche and played a crucial role in unloading men, tanks, trucks, jeeps, material and other equipment. The Americans set up a similar harbour at Omaha Beach but it was destroyed within the first few weeks by a storm. Our approach to Arromanche was very slow and as we descended into the town itself we could see that on either side of the road the fields were full with a sea of white of camper vans and tents. Once 33

into the town we were directed one way past a deluge of media vans from across the world. We were dropped of in a side street not far from the front. Everywhere was heaving with people and no sooner had we stepped into the main street than we were stopped for autographs, photos and hand shakes! It made us feel very special and quite humble to think that 65 years on all our efforts were still gratefully remembered. Our first thought was to find somewhere to eat, queues at the restaurants and sandwich shops filled the pavements. From the restaurant Dad and I found we could look out over the beach area. On the beach the re-enactment groups were prevalent, WW2 jeeps, motor bikes and trucks filled the area, the noise and smells were incredible and people were everywhere. There was even a boat inshore for people to look around. In the town at Arromanche, at one end of the main street there is a 360○ D-Day Museum that is well worth a visit. It was here that the VIP’s were waiting to commence the afternoon’s proceedings. The roads were closed off at 1600hrs and by 1630hrs the badge ceremony was due to start. The giant screens enabled most people to view the proceedings It was then that the rain started too. With no cover available everyone waiting was getting cold and wet. The itinerary moved on and the cadets, Somme band and Veterans formed up. The Drums were marched onto the square and Piled, the VIPs then emerged from the Museum and the Veterans marched followed by the cadets and Somme band. By 1800hrs the Veterans and VIPs were welcomed and the Queen’s message read. The Service commenced with the Chaplain saying the Bidding Prayer followed by the Lord’s Prayer. The Service continued with the hymn Love Divine followed by the Act of Remembrance, Last Post and Reveille, then further prayers and the hymn ‘Eternal Father, strong to save’. The Normandy Veterans’ Prayer was read and a charge to the rising generation to ‘remember the sounds and sites of June 1944 and the bravery and sacrifice of so many and to always remember and tell the story as often as you can’. A Cadet replied ‘I appreciate what you and your friends did for me 34

and I promise never to forget your bravery and sacrifice’. La Marseillaise followed by the British National Anthem and the Blessing concluded the Service. Finally, Greetings, Land of Hope and Glory, the Evening Hymn and Sunset and Auld Lang Syne ended the afternoon. The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, addressed those congregated. It had been a very difficult day for many, not only for the memories but dismal weather had put a damper to a final goodbye. For some of us who had taken shelter from the rain, we found camaraderie equal to none. Shop keepers having sold out of rainwear were offering black bin liners as some protection and people from around the world stopped and chatted when they saw a veteran, keen to hear of their experiences. By 1900hrs we regrouped, George and Kitty did a tremendous job rounding us all up to wait for the coach, we were all tired and wet. Everyone else was trying to do the same and it was 2000hrs before we could board our coach. It was a slow departure from Arromanche but now we were in the dry and looking forward to getting back to the hotel it didn’t seem to matter quite so much. Jack and Jean rejoined us for the journey back, Jack proudly displaying his Legion d’Honneur During the meal Jack stood up and said a few words, saying he felt privileged to accept the Legion d’Honneur on behalf of us all. He continued by saying without us there would be no branch for him to be involved with. His thoughts were very much appreciated. He also said that ‘a new day is dawning’ with the demise of the National Association and autonomy for those branches that are left it would be a concentration of the younger people to ensure that we are remembered. Sunday 7th June arrived all too soon; we were still recovering from our hectic events of yesterday. It was cool and breezy although the rain had now stopped. As I went into breakfast I met Eddie and Ann Slater going back to their room. He told me of their night trying to sleep in reception; it appeared that they had been talking the previous night and forgotten to collect their room key before the 35

staff went home and had no way of getting into their room. They were now going to get some sleep while the rest of us started our day of remembrance at several different locations. By 0930hrs we had arrived at Hill 112 for a short service. For those of us on the coach we were given an addendum to our itinerary about Operation Jupiter (Hill 112) which involved 43rd Wessex division who lost over 2000 men in two days here. At the memorial area there was already another coach party involved with an act of remembrance. When the time came for us our Standard Bearers paraded the Standards, John Curson laid a wreath in remembrance of 43rd Wessex division as did others. Our Last Post and Reveille was played by a Cadet bugler Tom Feeney and Piper Cadet Sergeant Major Zak Martin from ACF (The Rifles), TA Centre, 7 Castle Canyke Road, Bodmin, Cornwall. They were accompanied by Major Stephen Davies MBE. Our journey continued to the impressive memorial where a wreath was laid for the 49th West Riding Infantry Division, known as the Polar Bears and depicted on the memorial. As we travelled there Ken West gave us a prĂŠcis of what had happened in Operation Epsom. The 49th had landed 10-12th June, mopping up south of Tilly-sur-Suelles, along the main supply route from St Lo to Caen. They were to capture Fontenay and of 600 there were 300 casualties. The tanks came and a bloody battle with 2SS divisions ensued. There were heavy casualties on both sides. 1100hrs. our next memorial was at Hottot-les-Bagues War Cemetery where John Utting and his sons Gary and Stephen laid a wreath. I was very impressed how immaculately well kept the cemeteries are. *Most of the burials in Hottot-les-Bagues War Cemetery were brought in from the surrounding district, where there was much heavy fighting through June and July 1944 as Commonwealth forces tried to press on from Bayeux in an encircling movement to the south of Caen. The cemetery contains 1,005 Commonwealth 36

burials of the Second World War, 56 of them unidentified, and 132 German graves. We then travelled on to St Manvieu Cemetery, near Cheux, to enable Neville Howell to pay his respects. *The Allied offensive in north-western Europe began with the Normandy landings of 6 June 1944. Those buried in St. Manvieu War Cemetery died for the most part in the fluctuating battles from mid June to the end of July 1944, in the region between Tilly-sur-Suelles and Caen. The cemetery contains 1,627 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 49 of them unidentified. There are also 555 German burials. By 1230hrs our journey had taken us to Baron-sur-Odon where, in the village hall, we were given a vin d’honneur and we enjoyed our packed lunch. It was good to sit still for a while and chat. At 1430hrs we were back on the coach on by 1440hrs we were at Tilly-sur-Suelles War Cemetery. *There was heavy and fluctuating fighting in the vicinity of Tillysur-Suelles immediately after the landings involving chiefly the 49th and 50th Divisions. Tilly itself was not captured until 18 June and fighting continued nearby until mid July. The cemetery contains 990 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War and 232 German graves. * Information taken from CWGC web sites. 1515hrs we travelled a short distance to Musee de la Bataille de Tilly for a service and wreath laying at the memorial to the Essex Regiment (The Pompadours) and the Nottinghamshire (Sherwood Foresters) Yeomanry. Yet again the weather was determined to put a damper on the proceedings but undeterred the local community had tents with memorabilia where we stood undercover until the service started. The Standards were paraded and wreaths laid by local dignitaries the Last Post and Reveille were played by a serving member much to the amusement of a donkey in a nearby orchard, who insisted on 37

braying every time he played. 1630hrs. following the service, we were invited to join a vin d’honneur at the local school. We were not joining in a further ceremony a few miles up the road and as our coach was unable to take us to the school, we all walked the short distance into the town where it was. However, we were directed to the back of the school to a bay that was open to the elements and adjacent to the toilets that were screened only by sheets of hanging plastic strips. As we stood around waiting for our hosts to arrive back we were getting chilly. It would have been rude not to wait and after 30 minutes people started to return. It turned out to be another chaotic event but everyone had a drink and a biscuit and we politely said our thank you and made our excuses to return to the coach. We were informed on our journey back that our hotel staff had arranged a cocktail party for us before our evening buffet meal. Although this was a very kind gesture, many of the group only wanted their evening meal. 2100hrs. after dinner we were entertained by members of the group, including monologues by John Bailey, jokes from Alec Valori and Daphne Smith, songs from Frank Scott not forgetting of course our ‘young ladies’ in the form of, Ken West, Len Fox and Frank Scott led by Daphne Smith. My apologies if I’ve left anyone out! Having unwound and partaken of a couple of glasses of wine it was time to say goodnight and to do some packing in readiness for our departure in the morning. Mon. 8th June was very cool but dry – just right for travelling. 0700hrs Jean Pierre arrived for breakfast and to say farewell. 0815hrs the cases were loaded and we settled ourselves for the long journey ahead of us. Jean Pierre came on board and outlined his hopes for the future, not only maintaining the many WW2 vehicles but to start a new project for the future of Schools, Cadets, enthusiasts and relatives of Veterans. He 38

stated that several graves (many off the beaten track) were unable to be visited at present; it is his hope to run tours to cover all and enable organised visits to suit individuals. Other information, a total of 4,000 veterans had returned, the majority being British next the Canadians and the remainder American. Of the visitors the majority were Belgian, then the Dutch with the remainder being French. Also several thousand pieces of equipment were brought over, 1000 being jeeps. 0840hrs. was time say ‘au revoir’ and we set off. We had a couple of comfort stops along the way stopping for lunch at Baie du Somme at 1215hrs. 1315hrs we made our way to Calais and at 1430hrs. stopped for ‘duty free’. Back onboard to Passport Control. Everyone off! We each had to show our passports in the terminal building before boarding again. We were held up by another coach party ahead of us and duly missed our Shuttle; we had to wait 30 minutes for the next one. Once on board Kitty used the time to take down the bunting and take a collection for our driver who thanked us and said he would be buying plants for his garden. 1555hrs. back in England. Our first drop off at 1745hrs was Siro and Alec Valori in Ingatestone and at 1815hrs. we also stopped at Colchester to drop off Eddie and Ann Slater and to have a quick comfort stop. We then made our way back to the T.A. Centre in Norwich arriving at 2030hrs. In closing this report I would like to express my gratitude and thanks to all the Officers and members of Norwich Branch who made this trip possible for us, I for one will not forget.

Karen Browes-Walker



High Flight John Gillespie Magee

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence – hovering there, I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air. Up, up the long delirious burning blue I’ve topped the winds swept heights with easy grace Where never lark, or even eagle ever flew – And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod The high untrespassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand and touched the face of God. John Gillespie Magee was a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force who was killed in action in 1941. His poem is regarded as a classic

Soldier’s Prayer John Jarmain (1911-1944)

We do not ask that fate shall mitigate Whatever hardship we have to bear. Nor that we shall suffer in our share, Or more, whatever come of wounds and hate; 40

We do not ask for any recompense Nor for remembrance in the triumph day. Our youth is wasted in its own defence; Not all your laurels can restore us The years that are taken away With every untouched promise they bore. Only we pray that when the guns ceasefire We may return, and not find all things changed. That when in answer to our heart’s desire. We find love waiting, that we feared estranged.

Roll of Members - Update Please ensure that you keep the Secretary informed of any changes of address or telephone number so that the roll of members can be kept upto-date.

Change of Address Mr W H Jones (F477) 26 Waterside, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, PE30 2NA (01553) 661059 Mr & Mrs A Wooltorton (A405 & A406) 106, Beccles Road, Bungay, Suffolk. NR35 1JA New Members Mrs D Brown (A791) 1 Lincoln Court, Kessingland, Lowestoft, Suffolk. NR33 7QL (01502) 740993 Mr E Budds (F790), 41

11 Walcott Rise, Diss, Norfolk. IP22 4DD (01379) 640401 Veteran of 2nd Bn, Ox & Bucks. Light Infantry Mrs N & Miss K Maynard (A793 & A794) 2 Saxon Street, Cambridge. CB2 1HN (01223) 315235. Wife & Daughter of the late Lt Maynard, Hampshire Regt. Mr E Robinson, (F792) 12 Fulmerston Road, Thetford, Norfolk. IP24 3BG (01842) 752600. Veteran of102nd Br. Gen Hospital, R.A.M.C.

Deletions from the Roll of Members

Mrs G Bond Mr D Holmes Mrs I J Larkin Mrs M Maurice-Kemp Mr J A Rivett Mr R S Smith Mr E W Watson Mrs M Wright

Mr E A Brighten Mr C Lusher Mr K Mason Mr C J Riches Mrs G Smith Mr R E Thorpe Mrs M Wood


Obituaries It is with deep regret that we record the passing of the following Veterans and branch members.

E A “Curly� Brighten 60th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, RA

James A Rivett Royal Engineers (Inland Waterways Transport) Raymond (Dick) Thorpe 6th Field Regiment, RA

Irene (Betty) Larkin Widow of the late Cyril Larkin Mary Wood Widow of the late Arthur Wood

Our sincere condolences are sent to the families of all those who have passed to the green fields and beyond. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, We will remember them.


Schools Visiting Team It was decided to try and continue the Schools visits due to requests from Schools themselves for a return visit. We grouped together a few Veterans who would like to go and talk to these children and their teachers. For some of them it was their first time, but they have all thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It has turned out to be a steady 6 months of visits including: Hockering Primary, George White Junior, Mattishall Primary, Robert Kett Junior, Stalham Junior and Hethersett Old Hall. Paul and I were fortunate enough to go along to Stalham Junior School, where our daughter Bethany is a pupil, to watch Jack Woods and Len Mann talk to the children. The children were split into three groups and each group spent time with the Veterans and were able to ask questions. Paul had also put on a display of uniform and equipment for the children to look at, which seemed to go down well. For us it was an experience to watch Jack and Len with the children and see how the school hall was just at ease listening to them. Even I learnt new things about these Veterans I’ve known for many years now. All I can say is long may it continue, these visits really do make a difference and make the children’s topics come to life. The new Schools team are very much in demand and are continuing the good work of previous Schools team members in spreading the message that there is no glory in war. Many Thanks to Veterans, Len Mann, John Curson, Siro Valori and Jack Woods.

Sarah McAllister



Programme of Events AUGUST

Wed 12th

Social Meeting, RBL Aylsham Rd, Norwich

Centre, 11.15am

Sat 15th – Sun 16th

Outing to the National Arboretum, Overnight Alrewas. £25.00 per person Trip (contact Kitty Burge) SEPTEMBER

Fri 4th

Committee Meeting, RBL Centre, Aylsham Rd, Norwich


Sun 6th

Norfolk Gala Day


Wed 9th

Social Meeting, RBL Aylsham Rd, Norwich

Sun 13th

IWM, Duxford. Burge). £5pp

Centre, 11.15 am

(contact Kitty

The programme of events is subject to update and change where necessary


OCTOBER Wed 7th & Thurs 8th

Collection at Yarmouth.

Wed 14th

Social Meeting, RBL Aylsham Rd, Norwich


Great 9.00am 3.00pm

Centre, 11.15am


Committee Meeting, RBL Centre, Aylsham Rd, Norwich


Wed 11th

Social Meeting, RBL Centre, Aylsham Rd, Norwich




Your Normandy Star Needs


Please send your Poems, Stories and Photos to the Editor 48

NS Vol VII No5  

The official publication of the Norwich and District Normandy Veterans Association