Royal British Legion Standard Bearers on parade

My father, Arthur Gerald Noakes, 1924 - 2010 was a gunner in the Royal Artillery in the Second World War, gun layer on the Bofors AA Gun, winding the wheels to aim at the target.

His war started in 1942 when after training he went to the Near East and was in Bethlehem and Jerusalem at Christmas 1942 which he always said was very special. He was also in Egypt for a time as he always related seeing the funnels of ships passing through the desert along the Suez Canal.

While on initial training in Wales, Towyn I think, he had an accident when a hand grenade that he was throwing caught on the lip of the dugout and rolled back in. His sergeant pushed him over to one side and fortunately, the blast caused only minor shrapnel injuries which remained in his back for the rest of his life.

He was due to go over to Europe on D Day with his unit but injured his knee a few days before so went later and spent many days trying to catch up with them. He was in at the end of the war having helped liberate some of the PoW camps, repeatedly reminding us of a place he called "Truppenuppnsplats" which I've not been able to find.

When he returned to the UK he joined the Royal British Legion and became the Standard Bearer for the Wrockwardine Branch (Shropshire). Like mum, he took an avid interest in the performance of the Standard Bearers at the Royal Festival of Remembrance each year. He's fifth from the right in today's blip.

Wasn't it a marvellous day. Wonderful weather to help mark VE Day 75. We had a Social Distancing Afternoon Tea Party in our cul-de-sac and what a fine event it was talking to neighbours and passing the time of day with people we've lived next to or nearby for many years but only talk to occasionally and often on nodding terms only. Perhaps things will be different in the future. An amazing day to remember those times and the sacrifices of hundreds of thousands on people on our behalf.

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