We Will Remember Them!
Hello every-one and may I say how wonderful it is to have my web-site is back up and running again. If you’ve been following me you will know I’ve had a problem with my host provider which resulted in my web-site being down for seven days. So much has happened since I last posted on 26th May and I have no shortage of news to tell you all.
For the moment I’m going to be a bit back to front with me writing about my latest adventures in Normandy first, and then going back to the end of May when I will be telling you all about my shows at The Nene Valley Railway and Milestones Museum in Basingstoke.
My web-site couldn’t have gone down at a worst time but it’s great to know everything is back up and running again despite me having so much to catch up on.
Sailing Out of Portsmouth!
I sailed back from France on 13th June after enjoying five wonderful days away in Normandy. I’ve been on tour since the 6th June working my way down the country starting with a special 6th June “We’ll Meet Again” D-Day concert at Hailsham House and then on the 7th, I was in Fishbourne as I moved closer to Portsmouth and the ferry port. It’s unusual for me not to be in Normandy for D-Day itself but due to the way the weekend fell, my French bookings took place a little later enabling me to sail out on the 8th.
On Stage at The Liberation Ball!
My tour came about because I had been engaged by the “Up the Johns” organisation to perform at their Liberation Ball on the 10th June in the town of Bretteville l’ Orgueilleuse (Juno). They had originally booked me to perform at their dance back in 2020 but due to the pandemic everything was rescheduled and then rescheduled again so it was thrilling that after a three year delay I was at long last able to fulfil the engagement. I’m constantly updating and it was the first time I was able to use my new radio facade I commissioned from Wendover Wood to wrap around my sound system.
On this occasion I was travelling alone so no sooner did I dock at Ouistreham I made my way to Benouville to perform a special Garden Party Concert for my friend Steven Oldrid. Usually when I’m in France it’s all about singing the music of the 1940s but on this occasion it was a little different. As it was
Meeting Up With French Friends at the Ball!
post D-Day I was able to mix in tunes from the 1950s, 60s, 70s, post modern to grand Opera. I was also able to stream live which you can see by clicking the link to my facebook page above.
After my show I made my way to Arromanches where I had booked in with my friends Adrian and Karen to stay at their Normandy Beech B&B. I hadn’t seen them since the pandemic and it was wonderful to be back in Arromanches again catching up on old times. I also performed a Friday night concert for them in their courtyard which I also streamed as we rocked the night
Dressed Up for the Ball!
away and finished with the classic aria Nessun Dorma.
So much has changed since I last performed in Arromanches in 2019 including the new elegant 6 June D-Day Museum “Musee du Debarquement”. It’s a very elegant looking building and well worth a visit!
I made a point of visiting the museum after my Bretteville show on the Sunday as I wanted plenty of time to take everything in. Mussee du Debarquemnt tells the story of the Mulberry Harbour and its importance as troops started to move forward after the initial D-Day landings. It was an incredible feat of engineering especially as it was completed in six weeks despite the tempestuous Normandy weather. You can still see the remains of the harbour today.
On Stage at The Liberation Ball!
I don’t often get the chance to take in all the surrounding when I’m working but on this occasion I made a point of walking along the prom after dinner and up the hill to the 360 degree cinema just out-side of Arromanches. It was a beautiful evening and I returned the following day to visit the cinema and admire the statues which have been clearly created using a series of tiny circles welded together making their subjects transparent.
Out-side the Musee du Debarquement in Arromanches!
The first time I performed in Normandy was for the 60 D Day Commemorations in 2004. I remember it well as people decorated their houses with flags and there seemed to be more jeeps driving up and down the roads then, than during the 1944 invasion. I returned for the 65th in 2009 and I’ve been performing in Normandy every year since excluding the pandemic years.
The first time I performed in Normandy it was at the the American Gold Beach museum in Ver-sur-Mer. It’s a charming museum which focuses on two historic areas. The bridgehead by British troops on Gold Beach during the D-Day landings and the presentation of the first air mail flight between the USA and France in 1927. This is where the term Lindy Hop comes from which we now associate with a style of Jive
Admiring the Statues at the 360 degree Cinema!
dancing which was first developed in the Harlem nightclubs of the 1920s and became mainstream in the 1930s & 40s.
Due to my other commitments I hadn’t been back to Ver-sur-Mer since 2019. Now it hosts the British Normandy memorial and it’s a wonderful tribute to those who lost their lives during the D- Day Landings. The memorial records the names of 22,442 people from more than 30 countries under British command who were killed in Normandy from 6 June to 31 August 1944. It’s so tranquil there and I’m so pleased that I was able to visit. It beautiful, where life stands still and
The British Normandy Memorial! Ver-sur-Mer!
gives you a chance to reflect and think about those who gave their lives.
In many ways we owe this wonderful tribute to George Batts, a Normandy veteran who met with BBC journalist Nicholas Witchell in July 2015. Batts pointed out that the United Kingdom was the only major Allied nation without a dedicated memorial in Normandy. The Normandy Memorial Trust was set up after their meeting and it was completed and unveiled on 6 June 2021.
Now I’ve returned home from France I’m busy planning for next year and I can confirm I will be
Remembering Our Wonderful Veterans!
performing in Normandy for the 80th D-Day Commemorations. The beauty about going out a little later means every-one is a little more relaxed and more open to discuss business over coffe
e and croissants. I will definately be performing in Arromanches during this period. With full show news to follow closer to the date – so keep watching this space for up dates .
In the meantime I will leave you with a few of my photos and don’t forget you can see my live streams along with my Normandy video diaries by
Waiting to board the Ferry at Ouistreham!
clicking onto my facebook pages.
My next blog will be about my Nene Valley and Milestones museum shows so –
Keep Following Toodle Pip and Bye for now! 😉
Sailing home to Blighty!