My Uncle Joe

80 years ago today, on 6th June 1944, my Uncle Joe was at Sword Beach, it was D. Day.

He enlisted at the age of seventeen (1939), into the Grenadier Guards, then transferred to the Special Service Unit, which later became No. 4 Commando (Lord Lovatt’s Unit).

During his service, he took part in several reconnaissance’s in France and Holland, (together with the Canadian Commandos), on the raids on the French coast, St Nazaire, Boulogue and Dieppe, the D-Day Landings at Ouistreham (Sword Beach), and the attack and capture of Flushing”.

Joe is front right carrying wounded soldier with Paddy on the left, on ‘D’ Day 6th June 1944. 

Arriving home on leave after one such raid, he had a bullet hole through his khaki balaclava and his hands were badly gashed from barbed wire. Mother gave him a huge hug, so happy and relieved to see her son home and all in one piece. 

Joe survived the War was mentioned in Despatches and received the ‘Croix de Guerre’. (English translation: Cross of War) as a military decoration of France. It was first created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins.

The Croix de guerre may either be awarded as an individual or unit award to those soldiers who distinguish themselves by acts of heroism involving combat with the enemy. The medal is awarded to those who have been “mentioned in despatches“, meaning a heroic deed or deeds were performed meriting a citation from an individual’s headquarters unit).

Excerpt taken from ‘The Publican’s Daughter’ relating to a family’s experience in London during a difficult period of history.  

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