Tuesday 11 November 2008
May we remember...
..all those brave souls that lost their lives for their country. At this time of year I remember my Great Uncles and Grandfather, Paddy Coote, even more than normal. Although I sadly never got to meet my Grandfather I learnt to know him through the eyes of my Granny. He was a well respected Wing Commander in the RAF, studying alongside and being friends with Douglas Bader, who many of you will know especially those from England. At the end of their training my Grandfather was awarded The Sword of Honour, a great honour to receive as the best cadet throughout the training. It was considered a two horse race between Paddy and Douglas Bader.
Paddy was the kind of man to never show off, despite many sporting and RAF triumphs, including playing Rugby for Ireland and being part of the RAF bobsleigh team at the Olympics in Switzerland. Paddy was a great lover of literature and poetry, something that I have inherited. He dreamt of moving back to Ireland with my Granny, mum and my Aunt, when the war was over to write a book. This day sadly never came as he was shot down in Crete. He would normally not have been in the plane but felt that it was such a difficult mission that he could not ask his men to do something that he was not willing to do himself, so he replaced one man. I have since got to know this lovely gentleman, that wrote a book about the squadron and my Grandfather, he survived WW II because of the bravery of my Grandfather that day.
Every year I like to buy and wear a red poppy sold by the British Legion as a sign of remembrance and pride in my Grandfather. Living in Belgium I have not always been able to find one because they are not easily found here, however this year we were in Antwerp and there was a fabulous Scottish Bag pipe band playing that I love to hear (my Granny was Scottish, so yes I'm Scottish, Irish and British!) and there nearby was the British Legion selling poppies. So I have my poppy here proudly resting. Here is a photo of my Grandfather and Granny looking so happy on their wedding day.