Bob’s Blog Part 5 – Appears first in Congleton Chronicle
Remembrance Day is the time of year when lots of us older folk think back to war time – but it’s nice when youngsters mark the occasion! My grandson was at my house the other evening and his pal called to collect him. He was wearing a poppy for his night out on the town– he’s just signed up for the army, starts his basic training on Monday . Good on yer lad and God speed!
I was still a kid in the Second World War, but I remember my cousin signed up – he was accepted, though he was barely 18. Turned out to be a crack shot – a natural – and he volunteered for the Airborne Division. Not long after he was really in the thick of it – caught up in the Battle of Arnhem Sept 1944..
The history books tell of how the 1st British Airborne Division was part of the plan to advance into Germany’s industrial heartland. However, they encountered far more resistance than was expected. A night-time evacuation of the remnants of the 1st British Airbourne Division rescued 2400 men. Unfortunately my cousin wasn’t one of them. He told me,
“We were holed up in what was left of a house in the outskirts of the town, when we heard the rumble of an advancing tank coming ever closer. It stopped outside the house and swung it’s turret to face the house – we were looking down the barrel of a very big gun – that was the end of my war! “
It’s incredible to imagine that these things have happened in my life time! Anyway, there was a happy ending to the story… When my cousin got home he visited his best pal, who he’d met in basic training and spent most of the war with, and fell head over heels for his sister –they’ve just celebrated 69 years of marriage!! Now that’s a nice ending!
When I think of Remembrance Day I think of the Royal British Legion . The Legion was set up to help those returning from the First World War. Almost a century on, they’re still there helping Service people, Veterans, and their families. The Royal British Legion volunteers have been out in force selling poppies But that’s not all they do. Gillian McKinnon from the Royal British Legion was telling me that they have funding from Cheshire East Council and are all geared up to identify and address social isolation for the elderly in the area. They want to work with other organisations that have links to the armed services in any way – Gillian wants people to know that the Royal British Legion are there to support anyone in the area who may have served or are currently serving and who needs some support . I also discovered that my dear cousin could apply for a free ‘Care Phone’ – they’re worn on your wrist or around your neck and if they are pressed , a call goes through to a 24 hour response centre who will get help. He’s 90 now and some days is a bit wobbly – it would be great for him. And it’s all free for Service and ex-Service persons
Gillian says they always need more volunteers,
“We are really keen to encourage local people to volunteer for us, to help support local heroes.”
Volunteers are trained to be caseworkers, visitors, information volunteers , fundraisers and much more. To find out more have a look on their website or ring 0808 802 8080