In July 2014 we offered a wonderful prize of an Azamara Club Cruises ship visit for 2 people to coincide with the many events being held in commemoration of the D-Day landings anniversary.
In order to enter, we asked our members to tell us about their World War II connection, and why they would like to be selected as the winners of the Ship Tour and lunch.
We received many wonderful entries, and some very poignant stories. After a great deal of deliberation the judges from Azamara Club Cruises picked this winning entry by Liz and Malcolm Bryant:
“Our connection to WWII is through our father Jack who sadly died in January this year, aged 92. Not only did he serve in the Navy in the Far East during the War but he also loved the Azamara Journey and we were lucky enough to accompany him on a cruise on the Azamara Journey in the Caribbean three years ago before he became ill with Alzheimers disease. During the War Dad trained on HMS Royal Arthur in Skegness and had medical training at the Royal Naval Hospital in Gillingham before he was drafted to America on HMS Pasteur. He then sailed for the Far East and helped set up a sick bay in Colombo in Ceylon and spent a year working there. During the War he wrote hundreds of letters to my mother which we have all tied up in neat dated bundles. A few years ago the four of us accompanied Dad on a trip back to Sri Lanka which was a very special journey for all of us. He also had a wish to return to Burma and the Andaman Sea and had noticed the cruise that Azamara offered there but sadly his health deteriorated before it could be arranged.”
Here are the entries from the runners up:
“My connection to WWII is through my grandfather Andrew ‘Dusty’ Miller who served in the Black Watch in France. My great uncle Dave Miller served with the Gordon Highlanders and was wounded in the trenches in France and evacuated back to ‘Blighty’. My second cousins Patrick O’Rourke (London Secretary of the Scots Greys regiment) and his brother Joe both served with the Scots Greys from 1938 to 1945. They wore the picturesque Balmoral bonnet, the regiment was demobbed near Hastings on their return from service in Palestine. My father’s cousin George O’Rourke served with the Highland Light Infantry and was captured by the Germans at Dunkirk, while covering the British retreat from the beaches. My father James O’Rourke regularly wrote to cousin George c/o the Stalag POW camps.”
“My connection with World War 11 is my father Thomas Stevens. He served in the Royal Signals and I am doing my family history to find out as much as I can about his role in the war.”
“My father and mother in law were married during the second world. My husband always loved to have a tour of a ship. It would a great experience for him.”
“My favourite uncle, Uncle Jack, was born in 1917 in London’s East End. His parents, my grandparents on my father’s side of the family, had come to England as Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Jack left school at 14 and followed his father into the tailoring trade. He was one of six children, five brothers and one sister. Two of his brothers also served in the Forces, one in India and the other in Iraq. Uncle Jack was a Royal Fusilier and he was with his regiment, The Royal Fusiliers, as they were fighting their way up through Italy. He was lucky to escape with his life. He was shot during the Battle of Anzio, as Allied troops landed on Italian beaches and was taken prisoner by German soldiers. When they asked him his name he did not want them to know that he was of Jewish origin, so he confused his captors by telling them, in a long drawn-out, well-spoken way, that like the surnames ‘Smith’ and ‘Jones’ he too had a good, proper, old English name. Apparently they lost their patience during his lengthy answer and they decided to stop questioning him! When the fighting ended he managed to get to northern France and found a boat bound for England. In 1944 my uncle, Fusilier Jack, was awarded The Military Medal, in recognition of his ‘gallant and distinguished services in Italy’. In 2002 he suffered a serious stroke, but he made great efforts to carry on enjoying his life as much as he could for another two years. I wish I had could remember more of the stories he used to tell.I really miss him, as do my son and daughter – he was also their favourite great-uncle.”
Mrs K R Sewell
“My Dad was one of the last men to sail to Normandy on D Day and his stories of the events on that day were extremely poignant and some of them, understandably very sad. Sadly my Dad died aged 90 a few years ago and this would be a lovely way to feel close to him again and also to drink a toast to him and all the other men who have fought in wars to maintain the freedom of life for so many.”
“My father severed in the war in the navy as a cook on submarines and at one point was on manoeuvres to Egypt and was involved in the Suez crisis as a child he told me some fascinating stories of his life on board and when I was 16 (old enough to understand fully) we as a family went back to Cairo and Alexandria to relive his memories.”
Sheila Hassan (daughter of Patrick Fallon)
“My father was a prisoner of war for 2 years and 8 months in Innoshima, Japan during World War II. He spent his 21st birthday not in some gin palace but at the ‘Innoshima Hilton’. Sadly my father passed away earlier this year. He lived to a grand old age of 91!”
“My World War II connection is that my mother and father would never have met had it not been for the war and I would never have been born. My father was a Scotsman serving in the RAF and my mother was French. In October 1944 the RAF began flying from the recently captured airfield at Epinoy near Cambrai in France. It was here that my father met my mother.”
“My father-in-law landed in Normandy as a REME soldier attached to a guards division.”
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Azamara.