Freedom to travel

Watching the D-Day 75 Commemorations on TV has made me think, and not for the first time, how exceptionally fortunate I am, and how easy it is to take such good fortune for granted. It's obvious, when listening to British veterans of 6 June 1944 talking about their experiences, that they recall the events of…

The Cockleshell Heroes II

Last week I briefly mentioned the events that followed Operation Frankton, promising to set them in the context of rural Charente. Put briefly, Operation Frankton was a commando raid on the port of Bordeaux in early December 1942, carried out by a small unit of Royal Marines. Six folding kayaks were transported to the Gironde…

The Cockleshell Heroes I

Many people will have seen the film about this daring Royal Marine Commando raid on German naval vessels in the Gironde in 1942. Of the dozen brave men who took part in Operation Frankton only two escaped with their lives (eventually making their way home via Spain and Gibraltar). It so happens that they passed…

Je ne regrette rien

That Anne and I have had a holiday home in Charente for nearly 20 years is no secret. It is a source of constant, ineffable smugness. I wonder if we would have had the guts to do it today. With Brexit looming (I have avoided mentioning it in this blog until now), we would almost…