Friday, March 31, 2006

Battle School

Anyone remember the battle courses we had to go on? Live ammo being fired over our heads, thunder flashes going off under out noses ! Climbing over obstacles, crawling through ditches, I remember one that I went on, I was swinging over a stream on a rope and kicking someone who had fallen in and was just standing up knocking him back into the water, this made me lose hold of the rope and I fell on top of him

The instructors screaming at us to keep moving and to keep our heads down. One of the things we had to do was crossing barbed wire, someone had to throw themselves down and let the rest of the platoon use him as a plank to cross over. The unlucky man who had to do this unfortunately for him,when he threw himself down some of the barbed wire went through his battledress trousers and into his private parts which did some damage luckily not too serious as I found out because I was detailed to take him to the R A P. In retrospect it was quite funny after the MO examined him stopped the bleeding and wrapped a bandage around his penis, then tied a great big bow on it. When we returned to the barracks this fellow went around showing his wound to everyone. He was quite proud of it, but it also unfortunately gave him a nickname ( which I can't repeat here) that followed him around until he was posted away.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Should we forget the World Wars?

According to an article in my local evening newspaper on Wednesday 29 March 2006:

"History lessons in schools could lead to more football-related violence at this summer's World Cup, researchers said. A report claimed hooligans were influenced by lessons about the First and Second World Wars".

Is this a reason to stop giving history lessons about the World Wars and perhaps forget all about them?

Comments invited. For further comments about my personal views, see 'Comments'

Friday, March 24, 2006

A touching news item

Did you see this news item on the BBC today?

The two fallen soldiers she paid tribute to are Lance Serjeant Charles Francis and Corporal Edward Plant.

‘A picture paints a thousand words’.

This is the Memorial Plaque at Whitehaven, Cumbria outside the birthplace of Abe Acton VC. In WW1 Abe Acton and another of the West Cumbrian 'pals', Jimmy Smith from the neoghbouring town of Workington were awarded the Victoria Cross for the gallantry at Rouges Bancs, France on 21 December 1914.

Unlike a number of the contributors to this 'Second World War' forum, I have no personal experiences of wartime. Hence anything I have written about wartime events has been based on personal research and by recording personal memories of relatives, friends and others who have been good enough to share some of their wartime experiences with me. Many of these I posted to the BBC "People's War" website. Strangely, however, I have ended up writing about the experiences of some family members and their friends in the Great War. I hope anyone reading this article enjoys reading it and learns something new to them.

For the rest of this article click on Comments

One for the Album

Ron and Ray. Click to see photo enlargement
Some folk collect cigarette cards....I collect old soldiers !
The picture shows Ray Sinclair on a visit to London in 2005, the bloke with him is another 78 Div wireless op, I can't remember his name.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The CWGC web site has been completely revamped and has now a much better and easier to use interface. Unfortunately they also altered the URL and our original link no longer functioned. I have now amended the link and all is well again, taking us direct to the CWGC 'Records' page.

If you have your own direct link amongst your Favourites you may wish to amend it.

Italy Trip

Ithink I am managing to get to know this system now, (at least I hope so) as I have posted some pictures on the site.
Can some one let me know if what I am doing is correct, as I have some more photo's which I feel may of interest to others


Thought this might be interesting to Battle Axe members

Monte Cassino in the background. Castle Hill just behind me. Rifle platoon was up there and my morter platoon from what I can remember was down in the gully to the right of me Posted by Picasa

Salerno 2004

This was Salerno Beach 2004 Very desolate compared to 61 years ago Posted by Picasa



Does anyone have afull history of the ill-fated 2nd British Armoured Div which came to grief in the Desert after Rommell had entered the fray /

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Expanded WW2 Blog FAQ

I have expanded the FAQ and added guidance on posting a Profile photo. Please note, that while Post photos may be any size, Profile photos are restricted to 50Kb.

Please also refresh your memories on how to create a gap between paragraphs, even senior members are now overlooking this. The rule is simple: press Enter once for a break; press twice for a paragraph interval.

Your feedback on the FAQ would be most welcome.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Second World War: Welcome to "Footslogger"

The Second World War: Welcome to "Footslogger"

Hi Everyone! Thanks for the welcome messages I am still trying to get used to this "Blogging" and learning albeit slowly. I have some pictures taken when I was visiting Cassino in 2004, that may be of interest, problem is I am not sure how to download them onto this Blog from my Kodak photo file. I have tried various methods but keep reaching a dead end. Do I have to create a Blog site? I tried to open an account but the system refused my name, Any suggestions?

Regards to all

Ray (Footslogger)

Friday, March 17, 2006

Trauma - Then and Now

You may have already seen this news item. By all accounts it was a gruesome event. A deeply disturbed inmate attacked and killed his cell mate then proceeded to dismember and mutilate him. He then rang to tell the warders that he had killed his companion. First a single warder went to the cell, he immediately called for help and a further five prison officers arrived on the scene.

Later, because of the trauma they had suffered, all six were awarded over a million pounds in compensation and costs. The Home Office agreed to the compensation after a hearing with a High Court judge. Surprisingly, there is no mention of any compensation being paid to those who had to remove the body and clean the cell; nor of any money being paid to the pathologist who presumably carried out the legally required autopsy; nor is there any mention of compensation being paid to the undertakers who prepared the victim's remains for burial or cremation.

I do not wish in any way to question a high court judge's decision in that case or why they merited such a high amount in compensation. That settled claim should not be discussed here, I merely mention it as a recent example of a widespread and growing trend. But I could not but help compare it with what countless men and women had experienced in WW1 and WW2. In WW1 young men had to endure the screams and calls, growing ever weaker, of men badly injured and dying trapped in no-man's-land with no possibility whatsoever of assisting them or of mercifully finishing them off. Or of seeing limbs and corpses daily. The macabre scenes of WW2 were of a different kind but perhaps worse in horror, with mass executions and public hangings in the occupied countries. Bombing victims blasted beyond recognition; tank crews mangled to a pulp, ... I will not continue with the horrors which sadly became part of everyday experience during those terrible years. In both wars, young nurses had to deal with mangled bodies straight from the battlefield. Many of you will have seen footage or still photographs of the young Royal Engineers Sapper driving a bulldozer to push countless corpses into a mass grave at Belsen concentration camp; was he traumatised? If he was there wouldn't have been the faintest hope of him receiving any compensation.

Why is it that in WW1 if a young man, hitherto courageous, could not take such horrors any longer, was likely to end up with his eyes bound at dawn before a firing squad and executed for 'cowardice', yet now mature men receive vast sums in compensation for just one isolated incident? I am genuinely puzzled about this. A few of my valued friends will immediately recognise this topic, having already tentatively raised the subject with them, and although some of them might find the matter unpalatable, I would still welcome their comments.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Need any help with Blogging?

For those who want to know a bit more about 'Blogging' I've just bought a heplful book entitled "Blogging for Dummies" (author Brad Hill).

Like most of the 'Dummies' series it is written in a very friendly manner and encourages you to skip the areas that you might find boring. It's 368 pages long, my copy came from WH Smith but Peter informs me that Amazon do it for £11.37.

There are 28 pages specifically on (that's the server that we use) but these are pretty informative. The section on getting a picture on your profile is pretty scathing so it wasn't just us that found it a problem !

There's very little on HTML coding so don't expect too much technical help but if you want to learn about the whys and wherefores of blogging in general it makes an easy read particularly if you are thinking of setting up your own blog.

I thoroughly endorse Peter's suggestion that more members should fill in their Profiles, the FAQ section covers this very fully, so, no excuses please :)

Welcome to "Footslogger"

Hi Ray (AKA David Donald)

Welcome aboard !

I'm so glad to see that you made it and I look forward to reading some of the stories that you never had the time to put on to the old BBC site, we 78 Div lads must stick together :)

The art of "Blogging" is new to all of us, so, if I may make a siggestion,call up the FAQ section (that Peter has so painstakingly assembled on the right of this screen) and print it out for future reference.

Cheers for now

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Some news and encouraging words from the BBC WW2 People's War Team

We are all very well, but feel a bit like something is missing when we come into work in the morning - the site was always so alive!

We are very impressed with the blog, and good to see all the veterans of the website on there.

Not long until the archive goes up, I will let you know when it's live.

Best wishes

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Welcome, Colin!

Looking forward to your contributions, but if you are new to Blogs see the FAQ. It is based on problems we have experienced. We are still learning every day.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Lest We Forget?

Local Assisi resident, and veteran, Vincenzo Cavanna has instigated an adoption programme for the city's Commonwealth War Cemetery. He had noticed that the cemetery received few visitors, largely due to the distances relatives would have to travel to get there.

Old enmities have been put aside and, so far, 300 of the 945 graves have been adopted. Priority has been given to soldiers from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, as their families were least likely to visit.

This contrasts sharply with a cemetery in Leeds, which has recently been vandalised for the fifth time.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission maintains the headstones and Cross of Sacrifice in the cemetery. Thousands of pounds of tax-payers’ money has been spent in repairs and costs for the latest attack are estimated at £5,000.

A spokesperson for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission said,

We are disgusted at these appalling acts of mindless vandalism. The Cross of Sacrifice in our cemeteries is a tribute to the fallen who lie there and these acts of desecration are an insult, not only to the dead but to their families and the entire local area."