Remembrance Week Take Over | Birchwood Group

Remembrance Week Take Over

This year, in light of Remembrance Day, we'd like to share stories of all those who have sacrificed time and lives for our freedom. Read below how our colleagues and family members have experienced both World Wars, amongst others. We can't thank everyone enough who gave their lives for the freedom we have today, and we will not forget them. See our amazing and moving stories below, and don't forget to donate to the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal, by going onto their website.

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"Thought I’d send in some photos of my brother Matt a Flight Lieutenant who has served just under 10 years in the RAF. He has completed multiple tours of Afghanistan in both the Tornado and in more recent years, since we sold those to the Canadian Air Force, the Euro fighter Typhoon. We are incredibly proud of him for how he has served our country and how he has carried himself through some very tough situations. Being part of the RAF has taken him all over the world like the Falkland Islands, America to places like Nevada for bombing runs, Afghanistan and all over Europe for both work and pleasure. He aims to move into an instructor based roll in the next few years and is also on the waiting list to be part of the Red Arrows Display team towards the end of his active duty. "

Hayden, West Sussex Kia

Matt

"This is Fred, my dad, in his formal navy portrait. He was aged 17 when he volunteered to serve in the Royal Navy for ‘ the duration of this emergency’ as it was described on his service record. He joined up in 1943 with his brother Johnny, who was 18 leaving behind 4 younger brothers but by the time the war was over and they finally came home in 1946, they had a new baby sister.


Once they initial training was done, in common with many families, they did not see each other for the duration of the war. My dad served on the Atlantic convoys protecting troop and supply ships from the German U Boat torpedo attacks. He also served all around the Mediterranean and was part of the fleet charged with protecting Malta once the siege had been broken in 1943 and helping launch the landings on Sicily and Italy.


My dad rarely spoke about the war other than to share funny stories about the friends he made, learning to eat spaghetti the Italian way in Naples and being better fed in the Navy than he was at home. It was only later on in his life that we realised some of the horrors he must have seen especially during the Atlantic convoys.


Sadly both Johnny and my dad died of Mesothelioma, the cancer associated with exposure to asbestos and in both cases, the coroner linked it to their time in the Navy although obviously we will never know.


The poppy appeal supports the work of the Royal British Legion and, as a family, we will always value they work they do on our behalf for our service people, old and young, in memory of Johnny and Fred."

Paula, Marketing Director

Fred
Rev Tim Saiet
Rev Tim Saiet

Rev Tim Saiet former member of her majesty’s Royal Marine Commando’s 1982-1988

After completion of his training at the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone . Tim joined Zulu Company 45 Commando in Arbroath Scotland.

Tasked as a Commando amphibious unit, 45 Commando Royal Marines is capable of a wide range of operational tasks. Based at RM Condor, with their barracks in Arbroath, personnel regularly deploy outside the United Kingdom on operations or training. 45 Commando Royal Marines are the principal mountain and arctic cold weather warfare Commando Unit , personnel are capable of operating in a variety of theatres including tropical jungle, desert or mountainous terrain. The Commando is a regular participant in the annual Brigade cold weather warfare exercise in the Arctic in Norway, having been the first UK unit to specialise in the mountain and Arctic warfare role during the early 1970s and deployed to Norway on NATO’s northern flank most years until the end of the Cold War.

In Tim’s words - I was fortunate as I was able to live the dream – I joined the Royal Marine Commandos in 1982, when I was just seventeen. I was fairly sure that this wouldn’t be boring! I became an unarmed combat instructor and also a mountain and Arctic warfare specialist and instructor. It was a tough life but I learned how to be really self-sufficient. I travelled a lot and worked with submarines and ships – exciting adventures. I served operationally in the troubles in West Belfast in 1986. This was a harrowing tour for all present. I felt that I belonged and enjoyed the comradeship with the other men.

Mystery of Snow

Having spent five winters in the Arctic Circle as part of the Royal Marines Mountain and Arctic warfare specialists I had a lot of ski experience. After leaving the marines I moved into working 7 winters as a professional ski teacher in Europe ski schools.

Tim is now a Vicar and leads a Church in Kent.

From Adam,Tim's Brother, Eastbourne Kia

Michael Rankin (snr) enlisted in Carlisle as he wanted to go into a Scottish Regiment but his mother was Irish, so the army put him in the Royal Ulster Rifles 56th Div. He always complained that he was the only Scot in an Irish regiment.

After basic training, he was sent to Africa and arrived in Egypt. There, they joined forces with the American 5th Army for the allied invasion of Sicily, code named Operation Husky which took part on 9th July 1943. This campaign lasted 6 weeks. From there the Anglo-American force invaded the mainland of Italy and landed at Anzio on 22nd January to 5th June, 1944, code name Operation Shingle. Then he was wounded and taken to a field hospital near Naples. When he recovered, he was put back in and took part in a battle of Garigliano River which was being held by the Germans. The Americans couldn’t cross so they said ‘send in the Brits’.

After these 3 battles, he was shell shocked and transferred to the R.E.M.E, Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers.

Before the war, he was trained as a jockey at Newmarket under Mr Basil Jarvis. When his battalion was on leave, they went to a race track at Casoria to watch mule racing. My dad was volunteered to enter as a jockey in the main race- see pic of horse race, dad finished 2nd.

The medals represent the 39-45 Star, the Italian star, 39-45 medal King George VI, the last medal is 45-48 Palestine medal.

Steve, Washington Kia

Michael Rankin
The medals represent the 39-45 Star, the Italian star, 39-45 medal King George VI, the last medal is 45-48 Palestine medal.
Benjamin Dadswell

My Grandad, Benjamin Dadswell, was called up for service in January 1940 aged 22. He joined the 7th

battalion Royal Sussex regiment and was in France by April 1940. On 18th May 1940 his company of

581 men arrived just outside Amiens by train, where they were bombed by Stukas. My Grandads

cousin was killed along with 79 others, he was told by one of the corporals the following day ‘by the

way your cousin was killed yesterday, but we have job to do’. They were bombed again and machine

gunned while trying to recover some of their trucks, my Grandad had to get a bullet out of his mates

arm with his penknife. The remaining 501 men of their company took up defensive positions as the

Germans were expected to enter Amiens at any time. They only had a days rations and very little

ammunition but they were able to hold the Germans back for 21 hours which enabled their sister 6th

battalion which was to the south of them to escape. They fought until they ran out of ammunition

and reluctantly had to surrender – only 70 men of his battalion survived. The detail of the battle is

on the BBC archive. https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/29/a6937329.shtml


Grandad was taken prisoner of war on 20th May one month after arriving in France and was

subsequently taken to a POW camp in Poland. He worked on various farms in Poland and Prussia and

at one point he spoke of being taken into woods next to Stuttof concentration camp where he saw

Jews being beaten – he refused to go back the following day. In January 1945 they started marching

back to Germany, he spoke about being so hungry he ate raw horse meat and pigs food. They arrived

in Brunswick after nine weeks of marching 1300 miles. The following day after arriving in Brunswick

some of the men were trying to cook some swedes they had found, when there was an explosion – a

hand grenade had gone off – and a piece of shrapnel went into my grandads leg. He was taken to a

military hospital in Germany and then back to England arriving exactly 5 years after he left.

He had to have his leg amputated as gangrene had set in. He lived quietly and uncomplaining with the

affects of his injury until he was 93, he was much loved by all who knew and met him.

Adrian, Parts Manager

Henry Richard Greenaway

"My great Grandad Greenaway also known as Henry Richard Greenaway. He was called up to do his national service (army) He served across the globe in India, Burma and Singapore during WW2. After his national service he then went on to have three daughters (Kathlyn, Jean and Treasa) The three daughters have gone on to have children of their own and so forth. Great Grandad Greenaway currently has 23 great grandchildren and curranty a total 7 great, great grandchildren. He gained a nick name in his later year of "last card grandad". he got this because whenever a family member went to see him, they always played blackjack and it just stuck."

Nicholas, Birchwood Kia

Brad, Ford Commercial Director
Brad, Ford Commercial Director
Brad, Ford Commercial Director

Thank you to all the stories sent in. Please donate to The Royal British Legion, who do incredible work for those who have served.

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