Sunday, November 11, 2007

Remembrance Day

I’ve been reading June’s inspiring posts about Remembrance Day on her blog lately, and since today is November 11th, I decided to write about it too.
In one way or another, both my parents and John’s were involved in the Second World War. John’s mother was a fire service warden in Edinburgh, and somewhere we have a photograph of her in uniform meeting the Queen Mother. John’s father served in Italy, Holland and North Africa with the British Army, and was shot twice during the war—“friendly” fire on both occasions.
Just before the war, Adrian had been managing a hotel in Germany. He was good friends with a Jewish bandleader who warned Adrian that he should break his contract and leave immediately because something terrible was coming. To do this, Adrian arranged to have his father send him a telegram with a fake family emergency. While Adrian was in Germany, he said it was obvious the Jews were being treated badly and how much it disturbed him.
Like John’s mother, mine was also part of the war effort. Mum worked as a rations officer for the British Ministry of Food during the war, and still remembers the sound of bombs being dropped on Liverpool and Chester. She met my father at a garden party in Wales where he was billeted as a member of the Canadian Air Force.
Dad had joined up as a twenty year old, and after basic training in Canada, he was posted to Britain. But he ended up spending most of the war in Ceylon as a radar mechanic. Hundreds of troops were transported there on a ship swarming with rats, and everyone slept in a hammock.
The day before the Germans surrendered, my parents were married, and the photo that I used for this ATC was taken as they emerged from Bethel Methodist Chapel in Connahs Quay after the ceremony. Because all the troops had to be sent home first, my mother waited for a year before coming to Canada as a “war bride.”

Mum and Dad have been married now for 62 years, and it’s amazing to me to think how an overwhelming global event like World War II ended up affecting my life in such a basic way.


Ronna said...

Thanks for writing about your family on Remembrance Day. Very touching.

Anonymous said...

mom, this was really cool to read. I have heard these stories before but it's neat to read them on your blog too...

Debbie Olson said...

What a wonderful story and accompanying art! Thank you for sharing it!