D-Day veteran wins New York TV & Film award

D-Day veteran Ted Owens is celebrating winning a Gold award at the New York Festival of TV and Film.

The series LEST WE FORGET in which two schoolchildren travelled to France, the Netherlands and Germany with Ted was given the special prize in a documentary category.

The Royal Marine Commando was hit by a shell on D-Day and almost died – but returned to France to fight on. He later fought in major battles in the Netherlands.

The friendship between the two schoolchildren and Ted – who is 95 – is at the heart of the series, which you can still view online for free.

LEST WE FORGET

You can watch ‘Lest We Forget’ for free online here:

One:
Two:
Three:
Award

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?

“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…

 

 

Shadow Warriors: “A welcome addition to WWII literature”

Shadow Warriors: Daring Missions of World War II by Women of the OSS and SOE

KIRKUS REVIEW

A group biography of the fearless young women who became secret agents during World War II.

Award-winning journalists Thomas (Operation Exodus: From the Nazi Death Camps to the Promised Land: A Perilous Journey That Shaped Israel’s Fate, 2010, etc.) and Lewis (A Bullet Saved My Life: The Remarkable Adventures of Bob Peters, 2006, etc.) bring their talent for telling detail and brisk pacing to an engrossing history of women who worked for the United States and Britain as spies, cryptographers, analysts, couriers, and resistance fighters during World War II.

5da52e95dd7bddbf83079cfbcf3a2e00
Drawing from official records, memoirs, diaries, and letters, the authors detail the recruitment, training, and daring escapades of women who infiltrated enemy lines and carried out sabotage operations, ranging from stealing documents to blowing up railroad tracks. Risking their lives repeatedly, the women proved themselves ingenious and fearless.

Betty Pack
      Betty Pack

They were also, as the authors portray them, uncommonly attractive: slim, vivacious, charming, intelligent, quick-witted, and multilingual. Among them was the irresistible Betty Pack, who took countless lovers and became known as “the spy who slept her way to obtain information”; and Evangeline Bell, “intelligent, beautiful, mysterious, and ethereal,” who had the “demanding responsibility of ensuring there were no inconsistencies in the forged documents” and articles of clothing given to French agents. Any detail could result in arrest. French clothing, for example, was sewn “with parallel threading” rather than cross-stitches, a detail for which Bell had to be alert. Spies were taught how to pick locks, reassemble documents from scraps in trash baskets, live off the land, manage a safe landing in a parachute, make a cast of a key in a bar of soap, and canvass surroundings using a shop window’s reflection.

SOE radio set
          SOE radio set

Some training centers taught forgery, microphotography, and safecracking. Not all agents were successful: some were arrested, executed, or died in concentration camps, never seeing the victory for which they worked. The authors make a strong case for the importance of these women to the course of war, offering a fresh perspective on military history.

A welcome addition to WWII literature.

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/gordon-thomas/shadow-warriors-of-world-war-ii/

War Veteran Series Now On-Line

A D-Day Commando, filter room girl and RAF evader feature in ‘Welsh Heroes of World War 2’ which is now available to watch on-line.

The three programmes take Ted Owens, Eileen Younghusband and John Evans on emotional trips down memory lane to revisit their WW2 experiences.

The series ends with RAF evader John Evans, who spent four months on the run in Occupied Belgium, paying tribute to the Resistance heroes who helped him.

And, in an historic moment, he meets up with one of the Luftwaffe aces whose job it was to shot RAF bombers down.

Watch the series here.

UPDATE: Received a message from Dr Rolf Ebhardt, the Luftwaffe nightfighter ace, who features in ‘Welsh Heroes of World War 2: Airman on the Run’. Rolf came to the UK to meet the programme’s main character, John Evans.

Have viewed the film, Rolf says: “I was impressed  about the marvellous outcome of the interview. So the two old men are still “going strong” (at least more or less!).
I am glad I could represent the former enemy in a dignified manner to your countrymen,which in turn helps for good relations between our two nations, to come together also in future in friendship.”

I filmed a long interview with Rolf, which has never been shown anywhere: this was his first TV appearance. We are now working on plans for another documentary.