L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

26 October 2009 Blog Home : October 2009 : Permalink

My Grandfathers in the War(s)

As noted in various spots the racist far left politician Nick Griffin landed quite a percieved swipe on Jack Straw when they let him onto TV by claiming that whereas Griffin's father was in the RAF during the (second) world war, Straw's was a conscious objector.

It is entirely possible that Griffin senior was a heroic RAF figher pilot saving the country in the Battle of Britain and that Straw senior was a snivelling coward who dodged bullets by claiming his conscience was offended. However it is also quite within the realms of possibility that Griffin père was some kind of RAF paper pusher who never heard an enemy bomb or bullet while serving while Pa Straw was one of the incredibly brave Ambulance men who risked their lives over and over again to save the wounded, both their own and the enemy's.

We don't have enough information to say.

As it happens one of my grandfathers died in WW2 during the retreat to Dinkirk. He was undoubtedly brave and since I understand that his last orders were to blow up a bridge to stop advancing Germans on the Franco-Belgian border his death may even have been critical to the retreat. But I think no less of my other grandfather who was a conscious objector in WW1 and did the Ambulance service thing in Italy and Russia. I expect saw more danger in his war than his son (my father) did in the tail end of WW2 where he cracked Japanese codes in Bletchley.

The map is not the territory, the label is not the man.