Tuesday, 3 June 2014


Few readers will need to be told that today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day; the Normandy landings.

At the time of course it was all frightfully hush-hush. Everybody in England knew an invasion of France was imminent, but no-one was supposed to know (well, someone must have) exactly where or when. In fact, a false day and place was leaked, which conveniently diverted German forces.

My mother was working as a radar operator at the time, though she was about to go on maternity leave. Naturally the girls at her base speculated and even made bets about just when D-Day would be. Rumours circulated, minds changed, new bets were made, but my mother remained adamant throughout that it would be June the 6th. ‘How can you be so sure?’ ‘Aha!’ Her certainty must have aroused suspicion, especially when her prediction turned out to be correct. If she had really known, shouldn’t she have kept her mouth shut?

Actually her certainty was simple superstition: the doctor had predicted my date of birth as June the 6th. In the event I evidently decided that Dover, 6th of June 1944, was an unwise choice of date and place to come into the world. I couldn’t do much about the place, but I stayed inside an extra six days.

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