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From the beaches to the hedgerows

Bob Noody

They say a picture tells a thousand words…this is how I felt when I came across this fabulous film commissioned by the Tourist Office.

This time of year we especially feel the emotions starting to build for the 6th June anniversary, the 74th this year – 25 years next year we’ve been experiencing the 6th June weeks…almost 20 years we’ve been living here. This week we have someone retracing the footsteps of his Grandfather, he’s staying in our Band of Brothers House, a house he would have passed on 7th June 1944 – emotional is the only word I could use to describe his reaction.

14 years ago Harry Kulkowitz came into our lives on the 6th June, he was billeted with his son, for the 60th anniversary by our Mayor, a WW2 veteran who landed on Utah Beach 3rd wave on 6th June 1944.

Harry has now passed, but for 11 years he came to stay in our home – we did have some great times, to have the privilege of being with him while reminiscing, at his side while he was being feted and treated like the conquering hero was quite something…in fact too difficult to put into words except I describe it in one observation…

Walking down this village road (which was liberated on 8th June), with Harry, minding our own business, the sun was shining, the bells in the church ringing and the sparrows making that loud chirp when the weather is perfect, 2 ladies I did know from various events in the village, both in their 80’s, Harry too 80, suddenly became young women in front of my eyes, it was almost a Lazarus moment! Walking sticks went akimbo, arms out stretched, they both broke into a trot, wreathed in smiles, hugging & kissing Harry – the years fell from them & from Harry – ‘Merci, Merci Monsieur’ they exclaimed in between the bear hugs & kisses, suddenly I have 3 young people in my midst…I cried!

This type of greeting was something I was going to have to get used to as it happened everywhere…orderly lines would suddenly appear, young men, women & children some dressed up in 1940 gear, patiently waiting in line for Harry to sign something of theirs…quite often I felt like the body guard!

This the 74th anniversary will be attended by I think mainly British veterans as they now are in their 90’s – but we’re talking a particular generation here, so I’m sure some American boys will get through!

Hopefully the London Black Cabs will be bringing some British Normandy Veterans over again.

 

May 1, 2018 Things to do in Normandy, WWii
About Tansy Forster