Memorial Day has just gone by in America and we’re on the seventieth anniversary of the D-day landings in Normandy that happened on the 6th of June 1944. Nearly a hundred and fifty thousand frightened young men, mostly in their early twenties, came ashore as part of an ambitious endeavour the success of which was far from sure, but they and the Red Army from the other flank went on to liberate Europe and crush Nazi Germany within a year.

Over four thousand of them would die that day and about twice that number become casualties.

For so many of them, things would end, the candle would flick out for good. All that zest of youth would be gone in an instant.

The lucky ones; phut, zip, thump and that awful tiny terrible little puff of dust coming off the breast of a uniform as they dropped. Clean, nice checkout, gone…

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