D-Day commando is a one-in-a-million internet sensation!

D-Day veteran interview – What was it like saying goodbye to your parents to go to war?

Two children interview a D-Day veteran. 

His name is Ted Owens. He was a commando and a sniper. He almost died on D-Day and was wounded twice more in the Netherlands.

I’ll be posting some of their clips over the next fortnight.

Question one: What was it like saying goodbye to your parents to go to war?

“Detailed new history” of anti-fascist heroes

Sophie Scholl - photo taken by her brother Werner.
Sophie Scholl: one of the incredible people who stood up to the Nazis.

Major new review of Defying Hitler in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, describing it as a “detailed new history of the people dedicated to stopping a fascist madman” which “sums it all up with an inventive weaving of key players and the steps they took to resist a monster.”

Perry Munyon writes: “Drawing from the vast Nazi and German archives, but also from documented testimonies of major and minor players, execution records, diaries, journals and long forgotten books, newspaper and magazine accounts from around the world, Defying Hitler brings a vast number of stories and heroes together in a concise new history. It reminds us all that good people can dare to stand and fight evil and powerful regimes regardless of the odds.”

Thanks, Perry.

 

“That’s the only time I wanted my mum”: the toughness of commando training(video clip)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJust back from an amazing adventure with my friend, Ted Owens – a veteran of 41 Royal Marine Commando who landed on Sword Beach early on the morning of June 6, 1944.

Together with my children, Evan and Caoimhe, I’ve been following Ted’s wartime footsteps for a new television series. The kids have been learning not only about Ted’s service, but also about war and peace, tolerance and understanding, and about the need to respect WW2 veterans.

It has been an incredible experience, filmed by my friend and colleague Paul Roberts and supported by ITV Wales.

I’ll try to post more from the trip soon – using the tag ‘Lest We Forget’ – but here is a short clip. Along the way – as we travelled from Normandy to the Netherlands, where Ted fought at Walcheren and the Battle of the Bulge – the kids asked Ted’s questions sent by people on Twitter and email.

Here Evan asks Ted about his commando training…

 

 

Defying Hitler in USA Today & New York Post book lists

Defying Hitler cover USFinally getting a chance to round up some of the reviews and responses to Defying Hitler.

USA Today made it one of their Five Books Not To Miss, noting that Publishers Weekly says the book is “an informative counterpoint to accounts of widespread German complicity with the Holocaust.”

And the New York Post marked it as one of their Books of the Week. A fascinating look at the everyday Germans who resisted Hitler’s rule in ways big and small (all dangerous), from helping to forge passports that helped Jews escape to those who passed secrets to Allied spies.”

Newsday described it as an “important book” and Forward magazine says it is a “powerful book” which features the “adept interweaving of diverse and complicated narrative threads” to make “a gripping read”.