Saturday, 22 April 2017

Celebrate Saint George's Day

Thank you to the 49 people who checked my blog pages yesterday.

Today is Saint George's Day, Saint George - The Patron Saint of England, but you will need a very powerful pair of spectacles to see any celebrating.

Walk into your local branch of Morrissons and you will find a vast display of products inviting shoppers to celebrate Ramadan, if you look close enough - and you will need to have gone to Specsavers to be able to see it, you will find a tiny notice suggesting you should buy some beef to celebrate St George's Day.

This disgusts me and hurts my feelings so deeply yet it is not just Morrissons but the whole of society which is lacking in patriotism.

I am coming to the conclusion in my story AN INTERVIEW WITH FLIGHT SERGEANT BILLY, I am about to interview Billy about the events of 8th March 1945.

Late on Wednesday 7th March 1945 Billy and his fellow crew members of Bomber Command 189 Squadron's Lancaster NG-417 left its base in Norfolk.  It did not return.

Twenty year old Billy never saw England again.

Next Saturday I am taking my seven year old grandson to London for a birthday treat.  It is costing me a lot of money. We have first class tickets booked on Virgin Trans, admission to The Tower of London is expensive. I have got a digital camera for Adam so he can take photographs and plan to have lunch somewhere a bit more stylish than McDonald's.

We are not going to The Tower Of London to see the crown jewels but to view something far more precious to our family 

Within The Tower Of London is the regimental museum of The Royal Fusiliers, Adam and I are going there to see the medals won by my great-grandfather's cousin Thomas..

Unlike Billy who, after four promotions, reached the rank of Flying Officer, Thomas never rose above the rank of private. You can see he is wearing just two medals. One is his campaign medal for the Anglo-Afghan War. The Second is The Victoria Cross.

On August 16, 1880, Private Ashford was part of a party of British soldiers which come under siege from local tribesman in the small Afghan village of Deh Khoja. Many of the soldiers were quickly killed and one of the injured men managed to pull himself into the cover of a building under heavy fire. Private Ashford with Lieutenant William Chase noticed their comrade's desperate situation and together they went to rescue him. As they headed towards the building two hundred yards away, the Afghans started to open fire on them. Several times they attempted to reach the building but had to stop. Finally they reached the building, retrieved their comrade and under heavy fire, returned to safety. For gallantry in the face of the enemy, Private Ashford and Lieutenant Chase were awarded the Victoria Cross on October 14, 1881.

The Citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry on the occasion of the sortie from Kandahar, on the 16th August, 1880, against the village of Deh Khoja, in having rescued and carried for a distance of over 200 yards, under the fire of the enemy, a wounded soldier, Private Massey, of the Royal Fusiliers, who had taken shelter in a blockhouse. Several times they were compelled to rest, but they persevered in bringing him to a place of safety.

Thomas's cousin, Billy's father and my grandfather served in the trenches of World War One.  He was a fit, healthy young man but after a year was discharged with honour as he was suffering from tuberculosis.

Contrast his picture in uniform on the left with that of him below.

He suffered with TB until he died ten years after being discharged from the army.

I have combined the characters of my grandfather and his cousin into one person in a character in the second story of my time travel trilogy.

Every English family can tell similar stories of their relatives who fought and died for their country. Billy, his father and Thomas were not grand people, Thomas worked as a postman when he left the army, they were extraordinary ordinary men.  

Billy's mother, my grandmother, left a comfortable if not grand lifestyle in 1914 to come to Birmingham and work in a munitions factory.  I plan to tell her story in THE BRIDGE HOUSE which I will begin working on once Billy has finished his interview.

None of these members of my family, none of the members from families all over England did what they did so left wing liberal snowflakes can do to our country what they are doing. They did not do it to allow a supermarket chain to raise Ramadan above Saint George's Day !

They all deserve, our country deserved, WE all deserve better.


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