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Heroes of the Day…

In a daring raid intended to boost the morale of the French [hmm...], Wing Commander Ken Gatward flew just feet off the ground to put the wind up the Germans.

After dropping a huge French flag on top of the Arc de Triomphe, the British pilot headed towards the Gestapo headquarters which he raked with 20mm shells.

The attack sent the German SS troops running for their lives [and crying like girls], to the delight of Parisians.

Just read the whole thing. It’s awesome.

It reminds me oddly of this.


  1. Mr Ed says:

    Another hero, ‘One Armed Mac’. He lost his left arm to a 20mm cannon shell over Malta. He died in France after being shot down on a night raid, aged 24, in 1943.

    His personal emblem, his severed left arm giving a ‘V’-sign as a cannon shell blows it off.

    Love the Tower Bridge incident, and the fudge that followed. The Socialists were nervous then.

  2. JuliaM says:

    “Wg Cdr Gatward’s medal set, that includes his DFC with bar and a Distinguished Service Order, have now been put up for auction after the recent death of his widow.”

    Now that’s sad. Let us hope a local museum buys them. It’d be a shame if they were to leave the country.

  3. NickM says:

    To be fair Mr Ed… I don’t blame Wilson that much for this. And no, not even Duncan Sandys utterly ridiculous White Paper of ’57. British aircraft procurement has been an omnishambles since at least 1930.

    I think there is a good chance they’ll stay. What’s that peer who collects VCs and sticks ‘em in the Imperial War Museum?

  4. Julie near Chicago says:

    “Awesome” is surely the right word. Sent it on…thanks for posting.

  5. RAB says:

    I’d like to think his kind will come again, nay is still here, but I doubt it, I really do. Nowadays our Armed Forces seem to be comprised of the likes of the bloke who went off with Post Traumatic Stress when an Iranian in a rowboat stole his iPod.

  6. NickM says:

    Yes, they are still here. Or rather in the ‘stan. The fact they have often useless kit and a completely ill-defined role does not take away from the sheer guts and initiative of the folks out there.

  7. Tim Newman says:

    Nowadays our Armed Forces seem to be comprised of the likes of the bloke who went off with Post Traumatic Stress when an Iranian in a rowboat stole his iPod.

    To be fair, one of my best friends was awarded the DSO in Afghanistan – the youngest recipient for years – after his unit got dropped on top of a load of Taliban by mistake and they had to fight their way out, him being lightly wounded in the process. He was also the assault commander on this raid.

    He’s obviously brave, very much so, but doesn’t really come across as such. He comes across as organised and competent, with a streak of idiot inside just waiting to burst out.

  8. Tim Newman says:

    Sorry, link above didn’t work for some reason. Here.

  9. Capt. Craig says:

    Allan Pollock is a hero of mine and I have followed his ways with the RCAF and CAF and now back to the RCAF though not with as much distinction. I do recall an event I instigated that had Paris screaming for blood and phone lines tied up between Ottawa and Washington. Ah, the good old days.
    Read Al’s story and listen to him at the BBC link at the bottom.

  10. Mr Ed says:

    Nick, fascinating. Brian Walden supported him, despite being a Labour MP (or servant of Stalin in layman’s terms).

    Nowadays, the Blairmacht would not stand up for itself like the Armed Forces did then. This was not Bonapartism (Zhukov’s offence) but patriotism. This was before the crushing of the Prague Spring in August 1968, it started in January 1968.

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