Anniversary 0f the D-Day Landings – SURVIVAL!
Did you know…?
….In the eighteenth century, Buckden had businesses including
farriers, wheelwrights, corn merchants and hostelries (the
George and the Lion). There was even an establishment that
shod geese. The geese were driven through warm tar and then
onto sand, which formed a protective layer to pad their feet on
the walk to market.
….The wages of an agricultural labourer in Buckden in 1811
was 10s. a week in winter and 12s. a week in summer. At that
time, beef cost 8d. a pound.
Snow fell in Buckden on 4 May in 1856
From Buckden A Short History and Plan, S.B Edgington, 1980
Just for a moment, in humble remembrance, compare our
wonderful free society and the desirable environment we en-
joy at and around Buckden, to the horrific situation that those
brave and selfless heroes who landed on Normandy beaches,
found themselves confronted with on June 6
My Dad, Samuel
(Danny to his mates )
was born on June 6
1909, at Barford
Street, in the Small
Heath area of Bir-
mingham, in the
days when survival
was a much used
word. At the age of
eleven, due to his
brightness and gifted
hand-writing, he was
awarded a scholar-
ship to Birmingham
However, due to the
poor situation of his
family, his parents
would not let him
take up the offer, as
it meant additional
cost for uniform etc.
school offering to fund this, Danny’s teacher was met with “we
don’t accept charity here”. To encourage Danny, his teacher
gave him candles to allow him to complete his homework in
the outside toilet in the evenings. On one such occasion, his
mother caught him and gave him a ‘good hiding’ before send-
ing him to bed. That same night, miserable and wishing to
improve his situation, Danny opened his bedroom sash win-
dow and crept out, sliding down the shed roof to embark on
his personal search for freedom and survival.
He strode off into the darkness and a few weeks later, after
‘sleeping rough’, he found himself in Cardiff and somehow got
employment as a ‘Bell Boy’, working a lift in a large hotel. Hav-
ing spent nearly two years enjoying his new found independ-
ence, now thirteen, he and a fourteen year colleague were
caught returning from a local dance at midnight wearing their
hotel uniform, which resembled evening dress, the accepted
attire for a formal dance function in those days. They were
both sacked on the spot, changed into whatever clothes they
owned and were turfed out of the hotel, there and then.
Years later, Dad told me that they decided to turn left, rather
than right at the hotel entrance and started walking off into
the darkness. Weeks later, after what he described as a long
walk, begging, scrounging and pinching, they finally arrived in
London and ‘bedded’ down on an embankment bench that
would become his new home for the next six months. His
friend, being of bigger stature and older soon secured a job
and departed. Danny being younger, small and of slight build
couldn’t secure work and survived by rummaging through ho-
tel waste bins.
Winter was approaching, wet, and cold and hungry, Danny was
walking through the streets of Central London one day when
he spotted an Army Recruitment Office. His immediate
thoughts were of improving his dire situation with a roof over
his head, warmth, food and clothing. It was another case of
survival and he later joked that ‘any sense of purpose’ of being
a soldier came much later!
In 1923, between the two ‘Great’ wars, at the age of just thir-
teen and a half years old, having lied about his age to the Re-
cruitment Sergeant, Danny found himself as Infantryman
238184, Royal Horse Artillery, exercising gun carriage horses
on the beaches of Malta.
Moving onto another birthday for Danny, on June 6
that word ‘survival’ took on a whole new meaning as he ap-
proached the Normandy beaches on a landing craft. A situa-
tion he rarely spoke about other than to tell a humorous side
to his recollections … having had his teeth removed some
months earlier, his new dentures had arrived the week before
D-Day. Being somewhat of a poor fit and in the mayhem of
what was happening, he shouted instructions across to a
neighbouring landing craft only to see his complete set of den-
tures fall out and disappear beneath the waves.
At this same point, the ramp lowered and those brave men
were swept out waist deep into the sea water. Gun fire, explo-
sions and complete madness was everywhere as Danny made
his way up the beach. Eventually, despite the horror all
around, he and another soldier found shelter crouching be-
neath a wall. They spent the next day or so here, with a Ger-
man machine gunner every now and again sending bullets rico-
cheting off the top of said wall.
When asked how he had survived this ordeal, Dad would al-
ways smile his smile and say that “when it rained he would
take his tin hat off and collect rainwater so that he could soak
his ‘hard-tack’ biscuits to make a porridge, as he had no teeth
and his gums were sore!”
What a survivor, a BIG THANKYOU DAD AND TO ALL YOUR COL-
LEAGUES ... WE DO REMEMBER.