Sunday, 8 November 2015

My Memoirs - Dad and his gun.

It's poppy day here today - the day we remember all the soldiers etc. who died whilst serving Great Britain in any of the wars we've been in back when. It's a time for thought, deep thought and for thinking about our loved ones.

The picture here today shows my dad, Fred Mills, with his gun, defending the coast of Holland, Noordwijk during World War 11.  I don't know when the picture was taken but I'm pleased to say that dad did not die in the war. He came back. When he came back he wasn't the same person who left. I think the wartime made him more unsettled, more adventurous than he would have been before he went.  He wanted to be a pharmacist but he became an engineer.  In the war he was a Royal Engineer.

One of my regrets in life is that I didn't ask him more about he time in the war. Maybe he didn't want to talk about it, but I didn't ask! I did listen when he chose to talk, but not enough and I feel guilty about that. 

Now I am trying to find out more about what he did in the wartime. I know that he went to Noordwijk and he was stationed in my mother's house, which was right near the sea. He and several other 'Tommies' stayed there. That is where they met and after the war, my mother came over to England to get a break and they met up again.  My mother was only 17 when the war broke out so she spent the best years of her life under Nazi occupation and he must have been horrendous for her. She, herself, was very brave and fought for the Dutch resistance.

During today's Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph in London, the Queen was accompanied by the King of Holland, Willem Alexander and it brought a lump to my throat to see them there together. Queen Wilhelmina was exiled in England during the war years. The King was here today because Holland are celebrating 70 years of freedom from the Nazis.

So I wore my poppy with pride today and remembered the members of my family and others who fought for our freedom.

My dad, second from the left in the back row.  I wonder where all these men are now? Most of them dead I think, but did they all come home? Did they live happy lives? I wonder.



  1. A brave young man your dad, as were so many of our dads. No questions asked, they just served their countries with pride.
    I bought my poppy when I was at home in England last week, as you already know, it is not a common practice to sell them here in the US as it is in England.
    Remembering those who defended the shores, and gave the ultimate sacrifice, God bless them.
    My brother played in his marching band in the local Veterans 'Day parade today, as did many more across England.

  2. I won't see any poppies being worn here in Florida today, I'm sure. But if I were home in Bellingham, I sure would. We are close to the Canadian border and have many Canadians who wear them. Wednesday in Veterans Day here in the US and is a holiday for some. Your dad was a very brave man and you are right to be proud of him. :-)

  3. My father fought in the Vietnam war and he did not like to talk about war, neither did my father-in-law who fought in WWII. Like you,there are so many things I wish I had thought to ask when both were alive.

    War is so terrible, but your parents met during war times because of war, so good things came about in spite of it, including the freedom of Holland. Did your mother ever talk about her years during the occupation ?

    So many brave men and women served in that war, it is good to remember them and remind future generations of the cost of freedom.


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