Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Lest we forget
My grandad Adams, driver with the infantry, British Army, 1942- 1946, conscripted in 1941, served in North Africa, Burma, Sicily and Germany
My grandad Lawrence O'Dwyer; quartermasters stores, RAF, served 1940-1945,
My grandmother Jean Wake O'Dwyer, Batman and Officer's mess, WRAF, served 1942-1945
My grandfather O'Dwyer died when I was only 12, and I have no recollection of any conversations with him about his experiences during the war. My grandfather Adams lived till a ripe old age, but was a quiet man of few words. When he died his medals of honour were shared among his grandsons and live now in a wooden display case at my father's house, along side photos, maps and handwritten letters from him to my grandmother. My Grandmother O'Dwyer passed away two years ago, and I have many fond memories of nestling close to her as she told of her escapades during the war. Hearing her tell of riding her bicycle for hours down pitch black country lanes ( no street lamps allowed in the english countryside) carrying messages to and fro for her superiors always conjured up such vivid and terrifying images.
And my grandmother Ruth Adams is still alive, having just celebrated her 90th birthday. She didn't serve in the war but stayed home, caring for her grandparents who had raised her and working hard to get through. She wrote letters to village lads who were away at the front, one of whom was my grandfather.
My sister Emily is far better at tracking the history of our family than I am. I asked her to share some of what she knows about my mother's parents war experiences, and she wrote:
"Grampy Dwyer left Dublin and joined the RAF for the war. Unemployment was high in Ireland and a job was a job. He worked in Quartermasters stores and I recall many stories about his 'sideline' activities...like driving a full coal truck into a depot , skimming the top off to look delivered and driving the almost full truck out again. My Nan joined the WAF to get the allowances....two suits of clothes, shoes and underwear. She had lived in a orphanage from the age of 4 and had to leave at 16 with pretty much nothing. When Nan and Grampy got married, my Nan's trousseau was made from parachute silk, a gift from Grandad! Just after the war, by the early 1950s my grandparents were living at RAF Charmy Down (a nightfighter station), sharing half a hut with one Mr and Mrs Al Murray. And so began the story of how we ended up Canadian citizens....."
Thinking of all who lived through terrible times, and always remembering what we cannot imagine.......Thank you.