Shermans of the 2nd Irish Guards in Belgium, 31st July 1944. The Guards Armoured Division which landed in France a few days after D-Day played important roles throughout the Battle for Normandy, the race for Brussels, the Armhem Operation, Nijmegen and Sittard, the Reichswald Battle and many other operations that make it an interesting subject to study further.
Last updated 27th Jan 2011
In 1940 my Grandfather was drafted into the Army and eventually found himself as a Signaller in the Guards Armoured Division attached to the 153rd RA Regiment (Leicestershire Yoemanry).
He was Head Boy at Coalville Grammar School and was very keen on sports as a young man, something which throughout his life was very important. He worked at the Leicester Mercury and returned after the war to the same job. He never talked about his time in the war he only remarked that the war years were the best times of his life. He died on 11th September 1995 (born 19th Dec 1915).
My grandfather was also very important to me as my father left us when I was six. He in retrospect became my 'father figure' and I had, and still have to this day a genuine respect for this very quiet and unassuming man. On my grandmothers death a few years later we found a 'treasure trove' of documents all dated and sorted from World War II.
Over two years in between other projects these have all been sorted and indexed ready for the next phase.
My latest idea is to follow in the travels of my Grandfather from the date he joined the Army and his first stint at Army Camp near Bakewell right through to his landings in Normandy, his travels and battles through France, the liberation of Brussels, the debacle at Arnhem (The GAD spearheaded XXX Corps drive to relieve the paratroopers) and the hard slog through North Germany and eventually demob.
With his diary entries, the Regiment movements via the books I should be able to produce a accurate idea of when and where he was and what was occurring around him. Mix this with his poignant letters home then I think I will have a great combination. The letters cover everything from the food he ate, the films he saw, action details and some of it mundane everyday affairs between a young man and his wife who spent their first years mostly apart. Now the intention is still to produce a book, and a website to back that up, and perhaps if interest can be found a TV series about the journey he took with use of the fantastic material we have available.
My personal wish is to follow the roads through Europe he travelled and to walk around the battlefields etc. Also what is most revealing is the total love my grandfather had for his wife in an age where communication was by letter , and no modern communications were available
I will have more information soon. This is just a 'holding page' at the present expected start date is not unil 2012 but we will keep updated informationon this page. I have added a 13 page PDF available for viewing from the site giving more information.
It cannot have been easy for anyone during the Second World War to have been forced to fight an enemy who had conquered nearly all of Europe and who then threatened Britain.
But men were called up from all over the UK and the Empire to a call to arms to protect their way of life. To myself, someone who has never known a war or any kind of conflict near the United Kingdom this seems very alien, and the thought of having to go to war with no choice seems totally at odds with our modern society.
But in 1939 and 1940 men were called up and they left their homes, families, jobs and the ones they loved to train to fight and to protect those they left behind. My Grandfather was one of them.