Do you have a "hero" in your family?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by tigerbob, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. tigerbob
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    tigerbob Increasingly jaded.

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    I always find it heart-warming to read stories about people who have put the welfare of others above their own. Whether it is something newsworthy (somebody rescuing a stranger from real peril at risk of injury to themselves)....

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/03/nyregion/03life.html

    ...or just someone who has freely given their time or money over many years to help the poor, disadvantaged or unfortunate.

    Make It Matter: Rays of Hope | Inspiring People | Reader's Digest

    As there are plenty of people on this MB, I thought maybe some of us would have stories to share. I have one about my paternal Grandfather, Tom, which I was reminded of by a few posts I just read on another thread by Diuretic and Editec......
     
  2. tigerbob
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    tigerbob Increasingly jaded.

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    Tom was a pilot. Not the kind who flies airplanes, the kind that guides boats and ships.

    He retired from his job at the Port of Liverpool in the early 1930s, but was still always a big fan of boats and travelled the length and breadth of Britain visiting friends in port towns.

    A few years later, England declared war on Germany. England was, to put it bluntly, hopelessly unprepared for the struggle they were about to face.

    In 1939, several hundred thousand British and Commonwealth troops (known as the B.E.F.) were sent to France to meet the impending German advance. When the advance came, the Germans went through the BEF like a hot knife through butter. By late spring, the remnants of the BEF had retreated to the beaches of the English Channel and over 300,000 of them, cold, hungry, exhausted and with most of their weapons and ammo lost in the headlong retreat, were trapped with their backs against the sea at a place called Dunkirk with the seemingly invincible German army surrounding them on all sides. There was no shelter and the bombing, shelling and strafing was continuous. It must have been a living hell.

    Faced with imminent capture, it appeared Britain was about to be defeated little more than six months after war had been declared. Morale in the country was lower than can possibly be imagined, and the apologists were stridently making their case to sue for peace and leave Germany unchallenged, with all western Europe under its boot. Had this happened, with the U.S. still 18 months away from entering the war, Germany would have had time to consolidate before deciding whether to attack Russia and fight a war on only one front.

    The Royal Navy controlled the channel and many big ships were lying a mile or two offshore. The problem was that they couldn't get in close enough to get the trapped men off the beaches. It was at this point, in late May, that a signal went out from the Admiralty to ports around Britain asking for any boats than could get in close to be mustered. By any boats, they really did mean any boats.

    Grandpa Tom who still had many friends in the Liverpool boatyards heard about this immediately. Along with about a dozen others he took a train across country to a place called Ramsgate. He presented himself at the naval office there, indicating that he had spent a lifetime piloting in shallow waters. He was assigned to pilot a 40 foot private boat owned by a retired businessman whose name, alas, I have forgotten.

    Along with about 120 other such craft, he left Ramsgate for Dunkirk on May 29th - his 70th birthday. He and his boat spent the next 5 days under ferocious enemy fire going in to the beaches, picking up about 40 men at a time and ferrying them out to the waiting Navy ships. On countless occasions the men they plucked from the water bled to death before they could reach the Navy ships. Many had terrible wounds and limbs missing.

    Despite the heroic efforts of the RAF to protect them from the Luftwaffe,, many of the little ships were sunk and their civilian crews killed including, on June 3rd, just after dawn apparently, my Grandfather. Nobody saw what happened. One moment he was there, the next he was gone. There was no time to look for him and his body, along with those of so many others, was never found.

    By June 4th however, the "little ships of Dunkirk" and their navy counterparts rescued a third of a million men from certain death or capture. The will of Britain to fight on was reinforced, the apologists were silenced and on that day, Churchill, who had been Prime Minister for only a few weeks, rose from his seat in the house of commons and said...

    [youtube]<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/MkTw3_PmKtc&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/MkTw3_PmKtc&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>[/youtube]

    I like to feel that my Grandfather played his part. Well done Tom.
     
  3. manu1959
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    manu1959 Left Coast Isolationist

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  4. AllieBaba
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    AllieBaba BANNED

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    My brother once ran a half mile with a severed artery in his upper arm, after being blown up by a dynamite cap. the other guy who had been jack hammering with him in the hole had his foot blown off and a huge hole in his gut. My brother and the jackhammer were thrown up and out, and about 30 feet away. Brother got to his feet, grabbed his arm and started running.

    Certainly a testament to his bravery...sadly, also a testament to stupidity. Never work a jackhammer in a hole where there might be un-detonated blasting caps, for a company that doesn't bother with the niceties such as LICENSING to use dynamite.

    Flipping morons.
     
  5. Amanda
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    Amanda Calm as a Hindu cow

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    Every male in my family has served this country. They, and everyone else that has served or is serving is a hero to me.
     
  6. tigerbob
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    tigerbob Increasingly jaded.

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    That is one of the most bizarre stories I've ever read. Quite frightening at times.
     
  7. tigerbob
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    tigerbob Increasingly jaded.

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    What happened to the other guy? I can scarcely believe they both survived if they drilled through a blasting cap.
     
  8. manu1959
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    manu1959 Left Coast Isolationist

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    my dad had lots of clients like that.....hazzards of being a criminal defense attorney.....
     
  9. AllieBaba
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    AllieBaba BANNED

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    They actually didn't drill through it, they concussed it until it blew up somewhere under them (there was some dirt/rock between them)

    The other guy had a big chunk of rock essentially sever his lower leg about halfway up the shin, then it hit his huge belt buckle and drove it into his gut about 5 inches.

    If it wasn't for that stupid trucker buckle he'd have died. As it was, he's on disability for the rest of his life, if he's even still alive.

    Still, he would have died right there and then if my brother hadn't run for help.
     
  10. tigerbob
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    tigerbob Increasingly jaded.

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    Oh my God! He owes your brother big time.
     

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