November 9, 2011
Grandpa in France
Dear Grandpa Sendell,
I am writing this letter as a Remembrance Day tribute to you and all the others that served our country so unselfishly.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to talk to you about your experiences in the Great War of 1914-1918. I was too young and not very knowledgeable about such things at the time. I certainly did not appreciate your sacrifice, nor did I have any concept of the conditions in France where you served.
I am now in my early sixties with children and grandchildren of my own. I have researched my family roots including the military side of it. Through my research and readings on your military experience I have come to have a deep connection with your experiences. My only regret is that I can’t speak with you directly about this period of your life. This letter is my attempt to do that in a public way.
I discovered you enlisted in the 3rd Division of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in 1915 to go overseas. You were assigned to the Canadian Army Service Corps within this division. There you drove munitions trucks from the rear areas to the front lines under heavy enemy fire. Now I realize why you were such an excellent driver.
Even though these trips were made under cover of darkness, the enemy could hear the sounds of the truck engines and rained heavy artillery fire down on the roads approaching the frontline trenches. Many of your fellow drivers were killed instantly when shells ignited the explosives in the trucks. The stress of driving under these conditions must have been unbearable.
When I compare your military record with the timeline of battles fought in the Flanders area of France during the time you were serving, it is obvious you experienced most of the brutal encounters of that time. It is fortunate you survived and returned to us here in Canada, so many of your friends and fellow soldiers did not.
Grandpa I value greatly this historical connection you gave our family. We treasure it with tremendous pride. Frankly I and others of my generation wonder how you did it. Your country and King called and you gladly gave up years of your life to serve under dangerous and dreadful conditions.
It’s shocking and sad to realize how young the soldiers were that went to war. I can only imagine what it was really like, but at least now I have a true appreciation for your experience. Bless you and all the others for your service to our country. We will never forget.
Your loving grandson,
Steve B. Davis
June 6, 2011
On this the 67th anniversary of D-Day we must remember the sacrifice the servicemen of the Allied Powers (Canada, Britain, the United States, France and Poland) made on the beaches of Normandy, France that fateful June day in 1944.
When you look at the photos of aged veterans commemorating that event, realize that on June 6, 1944 these were mere boys and young men who dashed from the landing craft across the beaches under murderous fire from the entrenched German positions. A terrible number of these young men died there on that beach in the battle against tyranny.
The Second World War had been raging for four long years to this point. The invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 resulted in the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of the war in Europe less than one year later. It was the turning point of the war in Europe. If the invasion had failed the war would have dragged on for many more years.
November 8, 2010
One of many cemeteries in Europe where Canada's war dead lie.
I will be leaving this up all week as a reminder of the cost of suppressing tyranny and keeping the peace.
No one likes war, but sometimes it is necessary to kick the bullies out of the schoolyard. Hitler, Tojo, Mussolini, the Kaiser, and other despots had no respect for peace, human rights, and international law.
May we never forget the young men and women who gave their service and their lives for our country,
They shall not grow old
as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
and in the morning
we will remember them.
June 7, 2010
A vet remembers. Photo- Matt Cardy-Getty Images
66 years later a vet visits the graves of his buddies in Normandy. The fact these veterans still fondly remember their friends so vividly all these years later illustrates the bond they had for each other.
They did not die in vain. Hitler and the Nazis were defeated. Germany is now democratic, and the world is a better place for it. These vets did what had to be done. They faced fear, manned up, and did the job. I thank them and remember them.
February 10, 2010
On December 15, 1944 Glenn Miller took off in a light plane from England to entertain troops in France. The weather at the time was atrocious and he was told to wait, but he said the troops needed him. He disappeared somewhere over the English Channel. No trace of him or his plane have ever been found. He was only 40 years old.
Glenn Miller was arguably the greatest Big Band leader of the era. His music was the anthem of the 1940′s. Girls swooned and men cheered his band’s sound. It was like rock and roll today.
During the Second World War he and his band volunteered to travel to the war zone and entertain the troops. They also traveled all over the United States building morale and selling War Bonds.
His story was told in the 1953 movie, “The Glenn Miller Story”, starring James Stewart.
On this day in 1942 he was awarded the first ever Gold Record for selling 1.2 million copies of “Chattanooga Choo Choo”. Other great songs include, “In the Mood”, “Moonlight Serenade”, and “Pennsylvania 6-5000″.
The United States Postal Service issued a stamp in 1996 honoring him. It is shown below.
November 11, 2009
Tomb of the Unknown (U.K.)
The photo above shows tributes placed on the British Tomb of the Unknown. This is located in Westminster Abby in London. Their unknown soldier is from World War I (aka The Great War).
The last three British World War I vets died this year, so there are none remaining from that country.
Canada’s last known surviving WW I vet is still alive. He lives in Spokane, Washington, U.S.A. The Canadian government has offered him a State funeral if he and his family so choose. He is over one hundred years old at the present time.
We must always remember.
November 9, 2009
The Canadian Cemetery near the villages of Beny-sur-Mer and Reviers, next to where the 3rd Canadian Division landed at D-Day. Over 2000 Canadian, British and French soldiers are buried here, they paid with their lives in the fight for liberty.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
My Uncle Ken Davis at age 20 shortly before he was killed in a flying accident during training for the war. He was only 20 years old and the youngest of five brothers.
In the photo he is with his mother Janet (my grandmother). Photo was taken late 1943 or early 1944.
Ken was 6’5″ tall and an outstanding athlete during his years in high school. He always wanted to fly. At age 19 he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and was granted his wish of being assigned to pilot training.
One of the many who didn’t have the privilege of growing old.