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Remembrance Service and poppies

Castelnau de Montmiral Remembrance Service photographs attached here. Most villages in France have a memorial and a Remembrance ServiceR_Day_IMG_2160_d.JPG

At Castelnau de Montmiral the British community are represented at the Remembrance Service, sell poppies and honoured because so many Brits live around here.

The Remembrance Service parade started in the Place des Arcades in the village centre passed out of the 13th century South gate to the war memorial.

Speeches were given by both communities, British and French.

The poem that inspired the sale of poppies for disabled service men and families of the fallen was read.

Village children read the names of those gallant men who did not return to the peace of Castelnau de Montmiral.

Some families lost more than one son.

The list of names is long for a small village.

As a marine painter who has many times been commissioned to paint ‘military’ scenes and who’s Father gave 7 years of his life to helping free Europe including taking part in D day, the Battle for Caen, the crossing of the Rhine and became the officer responsible for caring for the victims of liberated Belsen among other services I am acutely aware of the price of our liberties and the dept we all owe those upon who’s shoulders modern Europe was built.

This picture (click on it for a larger copy) of convoy PQ 13 under attack by Ju 88’s is typical and was painted for and supervised by a survivor.  Convoy_PQ13_attacked_by_JU_88__s.JPG

Morris O. Mills was an 18 year old eye witness who as shown here manned the port side bridge wing gun.

He sailed on the merchant ship we see here under attack, SS New Westminster City.

I still have his letters and our original notes with sketches.

This painting of convoy PQ 13 on the Murmansk Run is believed to be the only painting of PQ 13 produced from an eye witness report.

It features on the front cover of the new book “Frozen Fury” available in English and Russian produced by a joint Russian American effort by www.gangut.su author John Haynes for the  Polar Convoy Veterans Club.

Recently John Haynes wrote:

I found your Blog and read your exchange with Captain Kozyr concerning
the use of your painting of Convoy PQ-13 on the cover of the Russian
translation of Frozen Fury.

I wanted to tell you how honored I am that you allowed your beautiful
painting of Convoy PQ-13 to be the cover of the Russian Frozen Fury

While in Russia earlier this month, I was privileged to spend a good
deal of time with Captain Kozyr and to speak at the Arctic Allied
Convoy’s Round Table as well as three TV interviews promoting the
Russian book. I was invited to several schools and museums in both
St. Petersburg and Murmansk where copies of the book was presented.
It was very well received on all occasions

The picture has also lead to an invitation to exhibit from Captain Kozyr and Alexey Utkin, Deputy Chief of the Central Naval Museum, St Petersburg.

Three days after the moment depicted New Westminster City was sunk. Merchant ship crew pay stopped the moment a ship was sunk…

Eighteen year old Morris Mills survived but lost a leg

My generation have been singularly blessed, living mostly in peace while our courageous service men continue to keep Europe’s enemies at bay.

Most of us pay lip service to them but how many of us see the gathering storm in the middle east driven by extremists who are more violent and more determined to conquer our world than ever the NAZI’s were?

A people who have very publicly and repeatedly sworn our destruction by what ever means it takes, a people who are fundamentally opposed to our way of life and our values…

All is peaceful here at Castelnau de Montmiral, people mostly deny there is a problem looming while Catholic priests and Christians are persecuted and murdered to the cry of Allah Akbar and announce Israel first then Europe.

It was the American forces that liberated Castelnau de Montmiral.

The day here started grey and threatening, quite an ‘English’ sky with the wind backing 4 points to the south the weather suddenly cleared and became pleasantly warm.

The Remembrance Service in this remote and petite village was tastefully managed with dignity and finished with apreos and a communal lunch. R_Day_IMG_2162_d.JPG

For the remainder of my day I worked in the sunshine on the long task of restoring my wooden sail boat.