The smallest cemetery!

June 1944.

The greatest armada the world has ever seen has landed, the British and Canadians have stormed ashore with minimum opposition, only the Americans have faced dug-in and stern resistance from well-supplied, -sited and -trained troops. The infantry, tanks and supporting artillery are commencing their initial runs inland. A battery of the Royal Artillery is setting-up just outside a tiny village in the Calvados district of Northern France. A second battery is already firing, while sited some way behind the first set of 25-pounder tube artillery. A call for a strike on a new position is taken by the radio operators of the second battery, but is mistakenly de-coded, and a set of incorrect co-ordinates are given to the gun-layers. The order is given, the gun commences firing, and my uncle Pete dies from ‘Friendly Fire’!

A Messerschmitt Bf-109 flies along a patrol route, tasked with locating and confirming rumoured advances of the combined Allied invasion forces away from the beach-heads of Normandy. Lacking vital camera equipment, he has to concentrate his gaze upon the ground, and so misses the flight of Typhoons which drops down almost vertically until set up directly behind the German fighter; a gun button is pressed, and a hail of cannon shells end the lifespan of that ‘109′ pilot!

Obviously, the preceding paragraphs are from my imagination, as no-one knows who actually ordered or fired the shells which hit my uncle’s battery in Normandy that June morning, nor who downed the German fighter whose pilot lies by my uncle’s mortal remains. They are there as a tribute to the ordinary, brave Canadians, Tommies, Yankees who flooded ashore in their tens of thousands over those bitterly-contested fields to attack the equally-brave German defenders of the Atlantic Redoubt. Those who died, and those who lived, would scarcely recognise the world their children’s children inherit; but we do, and should continue to, recognise their sacrifice for this, our own, our way of life!