My dad was a generation older than most of my generation’s dads. Born in 1925, he volunteered for the Parachute Regiment aged 18, and parachuted into fascist-occupied Sicily in 1943. He was wounded by shrapnel, captured, and would spend the next two and a half years in a Prisoner of War (POW) camp in Poland.
As a young boy, I looked up in awe at my “war hero” dad. He rarely spoke in any detail about his experiences but would sometimes tell me stories—sanitised for eight year old ears. He told me of being marched through Poland in the freezing winter.
One day an SS officer cycled past the column of allied prisoners, slipped in the snow and fell off his bike. One of the prisoners started to laugh. The SS officer walked up to the man, drew his pistol and shot him in the head. My dad was 18 years old.
On Saturday nights my dad would drink whisky and watch John Wayne re-fight the Second World War on TV. He’d get drunk and start shouting at the TV. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) didn’t exist in those days. But even then, it was obvious that it wasn’t only the shrapnel injury to his leg that would scar him for the rest of his life.
He went to war aged 18 because he believed it was a war against Nazism—and that, unless Hitler was stopped, the world would never know peace and freedom. He believed he fought for freedom. He believed he fought for free speech. And he believed he fought for democracy.
He did not fight for a grotesque home secretary to ban a march for peace in remembrance of the dead.
Suella Braverman—you spit on his grave. You are a disgrace.Original post