Have you voted today?

Published: Thursday 7th May 2015

Written by: Ginnie James

Have you voted yet today? Are you set in support for one political party or do all the parties and their policies seem to merge into one for you? If you are the latter and you are yet to vote do still have a quick look on Google, or take a quiz on which party best represents your views and get to your polling station before they close at 10pm.

We must never forget the number of people who have died over the last 100 years or so to protect our country and its history of democracy. Tomorrow we celebrate the 70th anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe) which makes it even more important that we vote today, whoever you support. My Grandad was one of the young men who risked their lives as the first assault of D-Day got underway on the 6th June 1944.

He joined the navy as soon as he could after war was declared and at the time of the landings he was 19 and attached to a division of Marines. His unit spent 10 hours on Sword beach clearing away destroyed or incapacitated ordnance from the shore line. I am lucky enough today to be in the position that I can’t truly imagine what it must have been like to be there and to see the things he saw and to do the things he must have to have done.

He has only just begun to talk about his wartime experiences but I am finding out as much as I can so I can tell my little one all about her brave Great-Grandad when she is old enough to appreciate his war effort. The only Welsh regiment to land on the Normandy beaches with the assault troops on that first day was The South Wales Borderers (2nd Battalion attached to the 56th Infantry Brigade).

By the end of June the 2nd & 3rd Monmouths had joined the action in the North West European campaign and all continued to fight on the continent until victory in Europe was achieved. For the 3rd Monmouths (and the 1st Monmouthshire division as well) the 8th May is a poignant date in their history for an unhappier reason. It was on this day in 1915 that the troops were defending the Frezenberg Ridge, Ypres.

The men fought bravely and even when a German battalion infiltrated their lines they refused to surrender and managed to retreat to a position where the German advance was finally halted. This resilience came at a huge cost however as by the end of the end of the day only 4 officers and 131 men were left from 83 and 1,020 and the 1st division lost 75% of their number.

Sixteen men from the small village of Troedrhiwfuwch in the Rhymney Valley died that day and this tragedy was echoed throughout many Allied communities during both WWI and WWII. So, make your vote count today and count your blessings as we mark this important anniversary tomorrow. Across the UK beacons of remembrance will be lit tomorrow night and I am sure there will be a fair few street party’s taking place over the weekend. Will you be taking part in any commemoration events over the next few days?

Ginnie James
Ginnie James



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