Why my brave dad's story must be told
LEST we forget. This weekend we will remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Today we tell the moving story of one man's experiences and his part in the liberation of France.
LEST we forget. This weekend we will remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Today we tell the moving story of one man's experiences and his part in the liberation of France. JAMES MARSTON reports.
SANDRA Abbott wears her poppy with pride - and with good reason.
This weekend the nation will honour its war dead and those who have died in the service of our country.
And for Sandra, as she attends a church service in her home village of Falkenham, her thoughts will turn to her father Stanley.
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One of the lucky ones, Stanley Gardner survived the Second World War, he braved the D-Day landings and life in a prisoner of war camp. And after the war Stanley came back to Britain married and raised a family.
Sandra said: “Remembrance Sunday was very important to Dad. Every year he would think of his comrades that didn't come back.”
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Today, as we publish excerpts from Stanley's fascinating and moving war diaries for the first time - and in full at www.eveningstar.co.uk - Sandra remembers a man loved by all he came into contact with.
Sandra, 52, said: “Dad lived most of his early years in Hasekton. He married in 1951 and moved to Newbourne where he lived until shortly before he died in 1984.
“He signed up for the Home Guard when he was 17 and then trained to be a soldier in Scotland where he learned he was going to take part in the D-Day landings in 1944.
“Every year he stood for the Queen on Christmas Day and I still do the same. Dad loved his country and his King and he wanted to bring peace to Europe. He was 19 when he wrote his diaries.
“He was a very loving man and he always left an impression on people he met. He was humble and a true Christian. He never said a bad word against anybody. He was badly treated but he saw the good in everybody. He was a family man and he loved his family and we were all very close.”
Modest by nature, Stanley rarely talked about his experiences.
Sandra added: “His diaries show us what he and young people of his generation went through to bring us all the freedom that we enjoy today.
“All my family have now died and many of the generation that fought in the war have gone. Stories like my dad's need to be told.”
Why is Remembrance Sunday important? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to email@example.com