UK: Remembering Our Grandparents on D-Day – 78-Years On! (6.6.2022)

If Our Grandparents Did Not Survive the Anti-Fascist Wars of the 1930s and 1940s – We Would Not Be Here!

Master Chan Tin Sang (1924-1993) fought in the People’s Militia in Hong Kong! Between 1941-1945, the Hakka Chinese people of the New Territories Area lost an estimated 10,000 men, women and children fighting the ‘fascist’ Imperial Japanese Army (with ALL Chinese people suffering regardless of their ethnic origin)! A large proportion of these deaths were due to mass rape, torture and mass executions! As the Colonial British Authorities would not ‘arm’ the indigenous Chinese population of Hong Kong, (for fear of anti-imperial uprisings), all the Chinese people had to resist with their minds and bodies, as well as traditional gongfu weaponry! Only gradually were modern weapons acquired, quite often from the dead bodies of brave British soldiers who had tried to stop the Japanese (often young ‘White’ men from the UK and soldiers from India), and from the bodies of killed Japanese soldiers (including the Samurai-swords carried by the aristocratic Officers)! The People’s Militia of Hong Kong was armed, fed and led by the Communist Party of China (CPC) – which withdrew from the area when the British Forces returned in 1945 so as not to pointlessly ‘clash’ with an anti-fascist ally (as Britain, China and the USSR were allies at the time). Master Chan Tin Sang migrated to the UK in 1956 to economically better the conditions of his family.

Arthur James Gibson [1911-1997] was a Sailor in the Royal Navy Patrol Service and served in the North Atlantic between 1942-1946 – on the Minesweeper HMS Beaumaris Castle! He was responsible for keeping the sea-lanes ‘open’ and ‘free’ of Nazi German mines so that British and Allied shipping could safely sail for waters around North Scotland! Much of this very dangerous work involved escorting the Russian Arctic Convoys for part of their incredibly dangerous task of conveying of vital war materials to the British Ally of the Soviet Union! For nearly everyday of his War Service, Arthur Gibson was ‘in theatre’ and subject to enemy action without any respite!

Alfred Gregory Wyles (1916-1976)  was a Private Soldier in an anti-tank unit serving in the 1st Buckinghamshire Battalion of the Territorial Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (not to be confused with the ‘Professional’ Ox and Bucks Light Infantry which would land around three-weeks later) which landed on Sword Beach on the morning of June 6th, 1944! Despite terrible casualties inflicted by the Nazi German defenders, these working-class men fought their way in-land to relieve the men of D Company of the 2nd Battalion of the Ox and Bucks light Infantry which had been landed by wooden gliders in the early hours of June 6th, 1944, on and around the canal system of Cain! As far as I am aware, my paternal grandfather trained in and around the canal system of the City of Exeter due to its similarity. He was a sharp-shooter and passed onto us a Pegasus Badge worn by the Glider Troops and it is a little unclear how he acquired it. I have been told three stories. The first is that many of the Light Infantry landing on Sword Beach were given these badges to ‘confuse’ the enemy. The second story is that he landed on Sword Beach, fought his way to Cain – and was ‘given’ the badge by grateful survivors that he helped rescue. The third story is that he was part of the Glider-Landed Troops who hit the ground (literally) around 1 am on the morning of June 6th, 1944! For most of my life I knew only the third story – as his partner Gladys Wyles (d. 1992) told me that Alfred was a ‘Commando’ who received extra money as ‘Hazardous Pay’! She said he trained in gliders! When I enquired about this with the MOD I was told that ‘no comment’ could be made! More research is needed!

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