British soldiers travelled to battle all over the globe in World War Two and my Dad was no exception. Below is a brief summary of each fighting episode in his war. He spent some time stationed in Britain and when he was in action he fought in many battles in France at Dunkirk, Wadi Akarit, Sicily, Normandy and Germany.
Germany was about to invade France so the British sent an army across the Channel to help defend the country. It was called the British Expeditionary Force. Germany then did invade Holland, Belgium and France and was in danger of over-running the British Army, such that they were forced to retreat, fighting a rear guard action around Dunkirk, escaping by the skin of their teeth back to England so that 330,000 British and allied WW2 soldiers lived to fight another battle. World war 1939 - 45.
Operation Dynamo was the operation to carry out the evacuation from Dunkirk, requiring the support of many soldiers and civilians alike, risking their lives to save others - hence the term "Dunkirk Spirit". To read the first heart-wrenching chapter of this war memoir, which is situated around Dunkirk and Bray Dunes, click here.
Click to read a background note on Dunkirk prepared by Dad.
For an online summary of the WWII Battle of Dunkirk, try this link to Wikipedia:
The Allied soldiers needed to be in command of North Africa in order to exercise control of the Mediterranean and simultaneously pose a threat to Italy and southern France. Following victory at Alamein, the soldiers of the British 8th Army progressed towards Tunisia, with a view to pushing the enemy armies back North. The enemy, led by Rommel, was making a stand amongst some hills near Wadi Akarit, a dried up river bed. They ‘had to be sent packing’, to use General Montgomery's words. This was a very awful, bloody battle and Dad was in the thick of it, losing several close comrades in tragic circumstances. All WW2 soldiers
For an online summary of the WW2 Tunisia, North Africa campaign, Operation Scipio, try this link to Wikipedia:
The Allied invasion of Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky, was a major World War II campaign, in which the Allies took Sicily from the Axis (Italy and Nazi Germany). The plan for Operation Husky called for a large scale amphibious and airborne operation, followed by six weeks of land combat. This episode included the now famous battle for the Primosole Bridge. It opened the way to the Allied invasion of Italy. This was another gruesome, hard fought battle in which Dad recorded at least three close comrades dying and witnessed some awful sights.
For an online summary of the WWII campaign in Sicily, Operation Husky, try this link to Wikipedia:
D Day - It was time for the Allied soldiers to return to France, via Normandy, and begin one of the the last great battles to bring the war to an end. In Dad's words:
"We had undergone the training, we had the weapons, and we had good leaders; such was inevitable. We were going into action with a positive state of mind. Hitler was going to be beaten; no longer would he think he had the God given right to be victorious. These thoughts were going through our heads as we sang, ‘Will I Live to See another Day’. Sadly, many of us would not see another sunrise."
During this battle, Dad was hit by shrapnel, after "D Day", on 30 June. This was yet another bloody campaign and battle for the British and Allied soldiers.
For an online summary of the WWII Battle of Normandy, try this link to Wikipedia:
For another excellent account of the D-Day landings follow this link to the Yorkshire Post and John Milton's account
When Dad went to Germany in 1945, he was engaged in a number of skirmishes leading up to the taking of Hamburg by the Allied forces, and was in the Regimental Police supervising post-war Germany. Some very poignant memories here.
For an online summary of the End of World War II in Europe, try this link to Wikipedia:
World war 1939 - 45, WW2 soldier and war diary, story