REMEMBRANCE: Our freedom was hard won
Frederick Llewelyn Hughes was awarded his Military Cross for bravery when serving as an Infantry Captain in World War I.
When the so called ‘war to end all wars’ ended he trained to be a priest in civilian parishes.
When war clouds loomed again in the 1930s, he enlisted into The Royal Army Chaplain’s Department, serving as Montgomery’s padre in The Western Desert.
And 75 years ago, on the eve of D Day, he was made Chaplain General for the entire British Army.
On Wednesday, June 5, at 11.30am, in St Ebba’s Church at Beadnell, folk will gather to remember the enormous responsibility borne by Freddie Hughes, Montgomery, Eisenhower and those who bravely set out under their orders and with their blessings to cross the channel to liberate Europe from Nazi tyranny and protect our land and its people.
Please consider joining them for local reflection on the eve of the anniversary, before watching commemorative events on television the next day.
Operation Overlord was the beginning of the end of the Second World War in the West.
On the 50th anniversary of D Day in 1994 The Times newspaper included a 16-page supplement.
Twenty five years on, it is vital that we remember how hard won our present freedoms are as we debate our links to Europe today.
On June 6, 1944, after almost two years of planning, assembling troops, transport and weapons, rehearsing around our coast at top secret locations, especially South West Scotland, and covertly manufacturing the necessary ‘Mulberry’ floating harbours, which my father helped to build, and PLUTO fuel ‘pipeline under the sea’, the modern armada set off.
It headed for a strongly defended 50-mile stretch of French coastline.
The battle had to be won in a day, and it was, at the cost of 10,000 casualties and 4413 killed on that one terrible day alone.
General Eisenhower wrote a letter to his troops on the eve of battle, ending: ‘Let us all beseech the Blessings of Almighty God on this great and noble undertaking.’
No sane individual would ever choose war or violence to resolve conflict, but I believe it to be a true saying that ‘in the face of evil, a worse evil is that good men do nothing’.
Sad evidence abounds at how some today believe their freedom to be a right.
We would all do well to remember that our freedom was won by brave men and women who knew their duty and did it, at enormous cost to them and their families.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.
Canon Alan Hughes MBE TD,