Alan Simons
Author | Writer | Social Activist

My personal tribute: 75th D-Day Anniversary.

“In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” 

– Jose Narosky

My personal tribute to my family who served their country.

“The last of 20 bombing operations over Germany. Operation Wilhelmshaven. Delayed action pencil slim armour piercing bomb, a Barnes Wallis experiment. We didn’t make it. ‘Jerry’ was waiting for us with flak and a Me 109.”

I have a personal debt of gratitude to members of my family who served in World War II. And for me, not to take away the significance of D-Day, how can I not forget my family members who served in The Great War, WWI.

During The Great War, my grandfather, Louis Cohen, served in the British Army fighting in the trenches in Belgium. He somehow managed to survive, never to speak of his ghastly experiences until a few hours before he died in the 1970s.

My great uncle David Wienburg, born in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, served in the 1st Bn. Border Regiment. Uncle David died aged 23 on Thursday, April 11 1918. He is remembered with honour at the Ploesgsteert Memorial, Hainaut, Belgium.

During WWII my dad served in the Royal Air Force. His brother served in Europe and North Africa, where he was a tank driver. Both my dad and my uncle survived.

My sister’s partner flew the Hampden, known as the flying suitcase, which alongside the Whitley and the Wellington was the backbone of Bomber Command at the outbreak of war in 1939. He was shot down on three separate occasions over enemy territory and captured. As a POW he escaped three times, was sent to Peenemünde, Stalag Luft III, where he played an active part in Operation Escape 200 (The Great Escape), Oflag IV-C (Colditz) and finally he was sent to Bergen-Belsen. He survived.

Many years later he found a photo of the Hampden at an aircraft museum. My sister had it framed after her partner wrote on the back of the photo:

“The last of 20 bombing operations over Germany. Operation Wilhelmshaven. Delayed action pencil slim armour piercing bomb, a Barnes Wallis experiment. We didn’t make it. ‘Jerry’ was waiting for us with flak and a Me 109.”

He survived the crash. All his crew died.

With exception of my great uncle David, they all withstood the horrors of war, all in their own way, all with their thoughts and memories remaining shut to their family and friends for most of their lives. Our heroes. Our loved ones. Thank you!

Today, unfortunately, through the actions of extremists from far right and far left groups egged-on by individuals in academia, in politics and from university student bodies to name a few, we are experiencing another onslaught of hate and intolerance primarily against our Jewish communities. Someone not too long ago said, “antisemitism has returned.” Did it ever go away?

If alive today, I wonder how my family members who served their country with honour and distinction would react now to it all.

About the Author
About me: Born, raised and educated in London, England, I worked for various newspapers in England prior to immigrating to Canada where I resumed my career in the newspaper and magazine field and established a communications company. Now in its 14th year of publication, I have a respected international internet news site, jewishinfoNews.info dealing with issues relating to intolerance, antisemitism/virulent Judeophobia, hate, ethnocentric violence, Islamophobia, conflict and terrorism. As a diplomat, I served as the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Rwanda to Canada. After living in Amsterdam for several years, I returned to Toronto where I am working on my fourth book, a novel, set in France, which addresses cultural diversity issues that go beyond stereotypes in society. I am available for workshops, lectures, talks and readings throughout the year. To contact me go to https://alanlsimons.wordpress.com/
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