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Buckden Roundabout

June 2019



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!”