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12 July 2014
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WW2 - People's War

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Susan Donaldson
User ID: U2749227

My father John Weston of Blackpool, Lancashire often talked about his war experiences and I am afraid it did provoke the reaction at times of “Not the war again, Dad”. It was only later that we came to realise what a life-defining period it was, and I persuaded him to write an account for his granddaughter, Gillian. My contributions to this BBC site are based on his story, complimented by letters from France to my mother Kay that I found only after his death in 2003. I was the "baby" referred to in the letters.

Dad was delighted with his granddaughter's interest in the war and she has followed this up with visits to the Imperial War Museum, Cabinet War Rooms and Bletchely Park to learn more of her grandfather's experiences. We are a family that has always commemorated Remembrance Day in memory of all those people killed and wounded in all wars - including my two great uncles in WW1. I am proud to add my father's accounts to the BBC World War Two People's Story.

Dad served in the RAF Codes & Ciphers Branch and first met Group Captain Winterbottom when he was called to SIS HQ in Broadway, London. All he learnt at the interview was it was concerned with a highly secret job. He was asked to report to 12 Hamilton Terrace,St. John's Wood, near Lord's Cricket Ground. It turned out to be a large private house with no indication of what went on there. Four more RAF personnel joined him; they signed the Official Secrets documents and for the next three weeks were indoctrinated into the mysteries of Enigma and the One-Time Pad code. He then spent some time in the Ministry of Defence in King Charles Street, Whitehall, before being seconded to General Bradley’s US 12th Army Group HQ. He landed at Omaha beach after D-Day and advanced via St. Mere Eglise, Avranches, Versailles, Paris, Verdun and Luxembourg through to Wiesbaden in Germany. Immediately after VE Day he was posted to Burma where he was for VJ Day.

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