"Bora da, rwyn gobethio bod mae
I gyd mewn iechyd da"

Sunday, September 5, 2004

War memories

Everything is relative, and although I'm unable to stand, let alone walk, I realise that there are folk much more unfortunate than myself.

Even though I've been in hospital a number of times, either with an MS relapse, or when my diabetes has gone through the roof, or when my prostate cancer has required attention, I realise that in reality I have much to thank God for.

There is a particular episode from my life that I remember most vividly. It was during the last world war of 1939-45.

The pleasant quiet summer afternoon was shattered by the rat-rat-rat of machine guns firing.

My friend Lester and I were quite used to this noise and carried on picking mushrooms in one of our bottom fields. It was in 1941, we were 11 years old, and frequently we would see Tiger Moth bi-planes towing cone shaped targets for those marvellous Spitfires to practice firing at.

The planes flew over the river Dee that flowed between Flintshire and the Wirral with Liverpool further on. On this particular afternoon however, when we eventually looked up, we saw that neither plane was towing a target. To our horror, we saw that one of the planes carried the hated German markings.

This plane and the British plane and were having a dogfight. We dropped our mushrooms and ran home. I suspect that in more Southern areas like Kent these dogfights were more prevalent, but not in our area.

Later, we were very sorry that we didn't stay to watch the dogfight, but we later heard that the British Spitfire shot the German Dornier down.

We returned to the field as soon as we were able to have a look at the crashed Dornier. We hoped to collect some 'souvenirs', but the police had arrived to keep us 'vultures' away.

Almost every night we could hear the German bombers flying over. It was very spectacular watching the searchlights frantically seeking these German planes.

I was very fortunate during the war. The only danger that I encountered happened one day as I was cycling down the hill on my way to school. I almost crashed my bike into a hole in the road made by an artillery shell that had exploded on the road.

Now that I have MS and am no longer able to work, I have something that I never had before: the time to reminisce and realise and how very fortunate I am to be 'reasonably' healthy.

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"Nos da rwyn gobeithio bod newch
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