Friday, September 20, 2019

Fullbore Friday

He spoke for his nation. 

You know, or I hope you know, that picture on the right of a British paratrooper taken prisoner after the failure of Market Garden 75 years ago.

We know who he is ... and he just left us last month;
LEGENDARY war hero Jack Reynolds, who was famously photographed giving the two finger salute to his World War Two captors, has died aged 97.

The lieutenant's act of defiance towards the Germans became one of the most iconic images the Battle of Arnhem.
He has a story;
Lt Reynolds was born on Chichester and joined the army aged 17 to follow in the footsteps of his older brother Arthur.

He joined the Sussex Yeomanry and trained as a signaller, and was sent off to South Wales for more training instead of France when his real age was discovered.

Lt Reynolds later joined the Royal Artillery and was posted to Dover to man a 12-pound gun aimed at German E-Boats in the English Channel.

He then joined the 1st Airborne Division and took part in the invasion of Sicily in July 1943 - which he was awarded the Military Cross for his heroic efforts.

On September 17, 1944, Lt Reynolds was part of the first wave of glider borne troops in the Battle of Arnhem.

He was sent out on the back of motorbike to carry out reconnaissance, but was confronted by German snipers that disabled his vehicle.

He carried on by food (sic) and saw German infantry and Panzer tanks, before he retreated and reported back to battalion HQ.

The next day the troops marched towards Oosterbeek, near Arnhem, and came under heavy talk (sic) fire.

Lt Reynolds continued on alone to find out the strength of the opposition, but he was cut off and spent several days behind enemy lines.

By the time he made it back to battalion HQ it was taken over by Germans and the men were forced to surrender.
If living well and long is a great revenge - then he beat his iconic photograph;
He met and married Eulalie Willcocks - the younger sister of his commanding officer Captain AH Willcocks, who he was in the camp with.

The couple lived in Pulborough, West Sussex until he died - Eulalie died 13 years ago.

It is understood Lt Reynolds died in his sleep in West Sussex on August 22.
Great story about the picture as well;
As he was taken as a prisoner of war, Lt Reynolds spotted a German cameraman filming the captured Brits.

Lt Reynolds, who lied about his age to join the army, then flicked the V-sign out of anger and frustration.

He said: "I was so angry at the loss of fine young men and the carnage. Down the road I saw a German chap with a camera and a huge grin on his face and I thought what a b*****d and gave him the opposite 'V' sign'.

"It was an act of defiance but a momentary lapse of military discipline, which given the circumstance seemed totally justifiable!"
Some years after the war a German newspaper contacted him out of the blue and sent him this framed photograph of him giving the V-sign.

"It was an iconic image of Arnhem and one that he was very proud of because it summed up exactly what men like him felt, even though it wasn't the conduct you'd expect of an officer.

"When I visited him he had this photo hung up on the wall of his lounge."

Hat tip Scoobs.

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