Voices of Remembrance: Veterans of World War Two describe their experiences

November 7th, 2015

Ammunition was limited though and pilots like Mr Farnes could only fire for around fifteen seconds in total before they ran out of bullets. “You would come down (on an enemy plane) have a quick burst of four or five seconds and then possibly break away and have a look round,” said Mr Farnes, “and if it was clear you’d go back and have another go.”

Laurie Weeden was also a pilot but his plane was a glider, flown into occupied France on D-Day. In the back of his Horsa glider he carried a jeep and an anti tank gun to be used by the Allies to recapture Northern France. “Ahead of us we could see the bombing of the Merville Battery,” he says, describing the coastal fortifications the Germans had set up to defend the coast, “ a line of tracer went up in front of us and as it hadn’t hit me I presumed it was (aimed for) the chap ahead of me. Or perhaps it was a German aiming at me and was not a very good shot.”

David Burke

Having trained with the Post Office before the war, David Burke arrived in Normandy as a signals sergeant on ‘D-Day + 2’, attached to Canadian forces.

In the subsequent advance through northern Germany, he witnessed Bergen-Belsen.

‘I’ll tell you about concentration camps: if you’re downwind of it, it can sicken you. You never forget the smell.’

Servicemen and women from the two World Wars and later conflicts will be remembered on Sunday at memorial services across the country, with the main service taking place at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London.


World War Two

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