Heroes Return Blog – Stories from Second World War veterans’ trips


Ron Toasting to Winston Churchill by Big Lottery Fund

Last week Ron found himself at the Cabinet War Rooms in London as a special guest at the National Lottery’s 15th Anniversary celebrations. As Ron toured the venue, he came across a familiar face.

“What few people, if any, at the reception would have known is that I have a particular affinity with Winston Churchill as he was the Hon. Colonel of my old regiment, the 4th QOH and that I had attended a dinner at which he was present in late 1945.”

I would not have missed the whole experience for anything. A big thank-you to the Big Lottery Fund for making the trip possible.”



Final thoughts by Big Lottery Fund
November 26, 2009, 11:47 am
Filed under: Africa | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Our trip to Egypt was a once in a lifetime experience. It was fascinating for my father to re-visit and for myself to experience just a very small part of what he, as a young man, must have endured, and maybe bringing just a small understanding of the effects this terrible war had on the lives of so many of his generation.



How the war affected both sides by Big Lottery Fund
November 26, 2009, 11:46 am
Filed under: Africa | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

We also visited the Italian and German war graves. Originally these graves had been together but the German cemetery has been moved and stands just off the shoreline. Both of these are also beautifully maintained monuments to all those young people who lost their lives in this terrible conflict



Memories of battle by Big Lottery Fund
November 26, 2009, 11:45 am
Filed under: Africa | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

At El Alamein Museum we saw a 3 ton truck that was exactly what my father and his fellow soldiers had made their home whilst in the desert. They would dig into the sand and drive their lorry in, covering themselves with a tarpaulin at night so as to be warm and not visible to the enemy. It was said with meaning that really the real enemy at this time was the desert.

The soldiers would not always know where the enemy actually was. Although appearing flat, the desert is not at all, and has many ridges that can hide tanks and soldiers. Also, when Germans captured British vehicles they would sometimes use these in battles so it was not always possible to recognise the real enemy.



Food for thought by Big Lottery Fund
November 26, 2009, 11:44 am
Filed under: Africa | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Lunch this day consisted of tahini and cold chips, cheese rolls, cucumber and a tomato with an unusual fruit drink as accompaniment. This was taken in the middle of the desert, perched on an extremely uncomfortable rock in 40 degrees heat. But this couldn’t even begin to compare in discomfort to what my father and his generation must have borne. We didn’t complain. We were beginning at this stage to desire some different kind of fayre for our meals but bore this also with fortitude when my father explained that his daily diet was corned beef and hard taq biscuits that the soliders had to crush with water in order to make them edible. He also said that he only got one pint of water a day, and he recalls that sometimes he had to give some of this to the cook.



Camels….. by Big Lottery Fund
November 26, 2009, 11:43 am
Filed under: Africa | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

One sight we do hope to recall in our minds is that of a herd of camels wandering through the desert with their herder. Apparently a man’s wealth is measured by how many camels he has. It was lovely seeing them in their natural habitat as opposed to all dressed up for giving tourist rides.



Visiting the Cemeteries by Big Lottery Fund

The cemeteries play host to the dead from many faiths:- Jews, Muslims, Christians, and are all beautifully maintained. This we found surprising as we had only expected the war graves to be so well tended.

The War grave we visited this morning was the final resting place for not only the fallen of WWII but also, the battles of a bygone age – now seen only in films. Napoleon fought battles along these shores and many dead from this time can be found in the graveyards. Whilst my father inspected the row upon row of pristine and highly respected graves of WWII I found myself very touched by a tomb dedicated to the family of one Daniel Frazer. The epitaph read:-

Maggie Frazer died 1892         34 years

Also lie here her children

Elizabeth         died 1887        11 months

Isabella            died 1891        6 years

Daniel              died 1891        3 years

“Sleep on loved ones and take your rest, I loved you well, but Jesus loved you best.”

Other inscriptions I found touching included, “He does not die who lives on in the hearts of loved ones.”

We both were wondering what these cities/ places must have been like in 1892.