D-Day Diary Inspiration
James Robertshaw lives in Witney with his wife and young daughter. James when he was a boy used to play with toy soldiers and was always interested in British Military History, especially fighting for the Queen, honour and justice. He was inspired by his family on the Second World War after many discussions from his family and grandparents on their war experiences. He had an ancestor on his mother’s side who was a Duke and an ancestor who was a Colonel in the Army who looked after the Officer Training Academy in Tunbridge Wells. James’s grandfather was in the Canadian Army during World War I and was decorated twice at Vimy Ridge for bravery, and was given one square mile of land in Manitoba, Canada.
His grandfather bought a house on the Bletchley Park Estate in 1938, (the Gardener’s House), and he supplied Bletchley Park during the war with meat and vegetables. Two of his aunts worked at Bletchley Park during the war, both marrying serving officers at Bletchley Park. James’ mum was a sister during World War II and nursed victims of the Blitz at the Middlesex Hospital and later was a sister at Bedford General nursing wounded soldiers from the raid at Dieppe and later from D-Day battles. James’ father served in the RAF and was in Lord Louis Mountbatten’s squadron as a sergeant instructor teaching and maintaining electrics on aircraft.
All these matters inspired James, and at school he joined the Taunton School Army cadet force and when he passed his A Levels went for an assessment for three days with the Army at Worthy Down. He was accepted to join Sandhurst for Officer Training for the next three years but ruefully decided not to join. He instead trained as an accountant with the Plessey Group. Later in his life James joined the Royal British Legion in Oxfordshire.
James has read a lot of material concerning the D-Day landings and on the 70th anniversary James visited the Normandy beaches with his brother John. He was very moved and saw a lot of bunkers but, like many others, did not know what happened at these bunkers. He then decided that he wanted to find out what had happened on each beach. This research convinced him to write a book on each of the beaches. He would list what happened at each bunker, who was involved and what the allies were up against.
The main motivation was to honour the men and women who served there so that they could be properly remembered whilst at the same time raising money for the Royal British Legion and Combat Stress. This would ensure that they should not be forgotten. He felt that books published in the past have not really been a good reference guide for a visit to the Normandy Beaches and James hopes that his material will help act as a guide to the beaches for future generations.