Top Secret!

Top Secret orders

Research into my own family continues – today has been a day of discoveries, day trips and revisiting my old suitcase, which is home to all the documents I have.  (The suitcase is an heirloom in itself – belonged to my grandfather I believe and is an old, brown leather one.)  On my day trip to Worthing I found several of my ancestors homes, or the sites of them – whether they were the original buildings, I’m not sure but it gives you a frisson of excitement when you walk down their street and realise that they must have walked that way too in the 1840’s.  How different their lives must have been.  This particular part of the family were boat builders and lived one street back from the sea front, close to the pier.  More excitingly, I found a local book which mentions them!  They were sailors and won several prizes in sailing competitions and were members of the local lifeboat crew.  It really came alive today…

So I went home and got the old brown suitcase out and started flicking through things.  I found cash books from the first two years of my grandparents’ marriage (1939-40) which made for fascinating reading from a time of rationing; ration books; medals; coins; letters; newspaper clippings and even a silk handkerchief with maps of occupied France and its’ rail connections.  The romantic in me likes to imagine being parachuted in behind enemy lines with only a silk handkerchief to find your way home.

Then the words “TOP SECRET” caught my eye.  How can you not be intrigued?  Date 19 May 1944.  A piece of paper that had been torn up and sellotaped  back together – this was the sort of piece of paper that surely should have been destroyed as soon as it had been read.  “The unit under your Comd is taking part in operation “Overlord“.  I have very limited knowledge of the operations of WW2, so I flicked to Google and lovely Wikipedia immediately did its’ bit.  Part of the D-Day landings – wow!  Codewords and beaches are named: JIG/KING beach, codeword KIPLING.  Considering the scale of the D-Day landings, I’m sure these bits of paper are not uncommon, but to me it is unique.  Someone I know was there and came back to tell the tale.

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