Last month our Chairman Tony G3YYH told us about his trip to Normandy for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. He went with his friend Martin M0MGA not only to join the anniversary ceremonies but also to take part in VMARS (Vintage and Military Amateur Radio Society) nets.
The first thing Tony said was that he should have started to plan for the trip five years ago and not within the last year! For when they tried to book accommodation no vacancies could be found within a large distance of the site where the ceremonies were due to take place, Not only that but their plan to operate from the nearby D-Day landing beach was not possible because of security restrictions – on reflection understandable with so many VIPs attending the events.
In spite of these problems Tony and Martin had a great time. Prior to the visit Tony had written to a local French dignitary who was more please to provide assistance. Accommodation for part of the visit was arranged in a nunnery, which Tony said was better than some hotels he had stayed in! They had taken appropriate military kit to France and joined in several nets including the VMARS 80m AM net on the morning of the actual anniversary, which turned out to be a large net with some 85 participants. At one stage Tony used his Wireless Set No.46 which Beachmasters had used on the landing beaches, he was heard by at least one UK station with this very low power HF rig.
The above photo shows Tony G3YYH on the left showing his WS46 set to Graham G8XRS, Derek G3NKS and Barry M0HFY.
Tony and Martin attended a couple of ceremonies and functions and were made very welcome. The French, and the especially the locals, are still very appreciate and grateful for all the sacrifices suffered in the battles to free them of the Nazi tyranny. Interestingly the French treated the Anniversary as a celebration whereas the UK contingent saw it more of a commemoration of the lives lost.
It was a well presented, fascinating, informative and enjoyable talk with many excellent “slides” – for which we offer our grateful thanks to Tony. Unfortunately several members could not make the meeting, so Tony has offered to repeat the talk, probably sometime later this year. Watch this space!