On the 11 November (the eleventh day) at the eleventh hour we pay our respects to those that have gone before and fought for the freedom of this nation of ours initially through the first and second world wars and latterly more modern conflicts. It is also the day my grandfather was born in 1900 within the sound of Bow Bell. Happy Birthday Pop, even though you have been passed over for a few years now I still celebrate your birthday in quiet reflection as the day itself dictates.
My grandfather was a Fitter/Engineer when the second world war broke out. He was trade restricted and not allowed to enter into the services because of his trade. This however did not stop him joining the Homeguard (what we know more commonly today as Dad's Army) so he did his bit in more than one way. Frequently called out during the night; Pop also grew his own veg and built his own Anderson shelter in the garden which was kitted out with a bunk bed and made really posh. The first air raid siren went off and Pop led the way to the shelter only to end up waist deep in water. He had dug the shelter below the water table. Bless him was never allowed to forget it. Anyway I digress.
Behind their bungalow was RAF Fiskerton. There is a lovely little website here all about RAF Fiskerton which is extremely interesting http://www.fiskertonairfield.org.uk/
My Nan worked in the Naafi and used to bring the young airmen and pilots off the base to get them away just for a few hours for a good home cooked meal and a bit of R and R off base. Many a young man did not return; often very gifted young men that my grandparents and my father knew.
When war broke out my father was only three or four years old. He was fascinated by the airplanes and was often in trouble for not coming in because he was watching a dog fight between a spitfire and a German plane. He was nearly the death of his teacher Miss Clarke. The school was next door to my grandparents home and in the grounds there were the air raid shelters. They were still there when I was a child and in fact most of the village was as it had been during the war with the local shop being in a Nissen Hut. There were lots of scrapes my father got into as a youngster during this period. One thing that he was clear on though was that he wanted to be a pilot. He took the entrance exam in later years but becuase he had not been taught the algebra he failed the entrance exam. That wasn't the end of it though as he in later life went on to write a couple of books based upon the war and a pilot bringing forward all that pent up information that he had experienced as a child into the hero and heroine of his books.
In later years the colours were placed in St Clements the church in Fiskerton at a special service which I was lucky to attend. It was a very moving service. My grandparents lived in Fiskerton for over 60 years and it is the church where my father was a choir boy before going on to be in the Lincoln Cathederal choir; I was christened there as was my brother.
But today that is about those chosen few who have given us our freedom today. For their efforts we have our freedom something that must never be forgotten. A simple Flanders poppy a symbol that speaks volumes across the world. So at 11.00 a,m tomorrow please pay your respects and remember them.