Tag: Dorset

Illegal Diary Provides Insights to D-Day

“What a day. Just hell,” Private Terry Parker wrote in his diary seventy-five years ago on D-Day. At the time, it was believed that if a diary fell into enemy hands then it could be used against the British army, ergo it was illegal and discouraged for soldiers to keep and write in a personal diary. Private Terry Parker nonetheless broke the law and wasn’t captured, and we’re lucky for it.

 

Private Terry Parker had penned a diary which expressed his fear about landing, he said he was worried about his mother

Image Via Daily Mail

Keeping a record of his involvement in the fighting, Private Parker sent letters to his mother and girlfriend, Jess, back home describing his feelings and what was happening not unlike the following extract:

Landing tomorrow and I’m wondering how many on this ship won’t see tomorrow night, I wish it were a month from now, god watch over me.

 

Before leaving Private Parker had gifted his girlfriend Jess a writing set which she used to send him letters
Image Via Daily Mail
At one point, Jess penned this to Terry:

Terry darling, I’ve been dying to try out this notepaper ever since you bought it for me and here is my chance, wherever you are, when you open this be good and look after yourself, all my love and kisses always, Jess.

 

In his diary he asked God to watch over him and said he wished it was a month from now

Image Via Daily Mail

Now, Christopher Jary has compiled Parker’s writings with several other writing at the time in order to create a comprehensive reading on what happened to those on the British front lines of D-Day in a book entitled D-Day Spearhead Bridgade: The Hampshires, Dorsets & devons on 6th June 1944.

D-Day, what a day. Just hell, too much to write here, heavy casualties.

 

Parker survived D-Day (soldiers involved pictured above) but was wounded in the face on 25 June

Image Via Daily Mail

Private Parker was a member of the Dorset brigade and had previously fought in Malta and had landed in Sicily, hence why he was chosen for the British front lines.

In an interview conducted by the BBC, Christopher Jary said the Hampshire’s and the Dorset’s were the first British inventory to land and, despite many problems and hardships, they achieved almost all their objectives on D-Day.

 

Private Terry Parker married Jess (pictured together on their wedding day) when he returned to the UK

Image Via Daily Mail

Fortunately, Parker survived D-Day. He returned to England after being wounded on June 25th. In a true happily ever after, he married Jess in 1946.

The Daily Mail writes that when Britain’s national day of commemoration falls on Wednesday, June 5th. There will be “4,000 military personnel, eleven Royal Naval vessels and 26 RAF aircraft will take part in events in Portsmouth” and “[v]eterans have already set off for France in large numbers to make it to Normandy in time for Thursday’s memorial services. 

This year marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of D-Day commemorations.

 

 

Featured Image Via Smithsonian Magazine