My dad fought in that scenario!
Neil Amoore
South Africa
Benoni
Gauteng
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I'm not sure if there's another geeklist covering this topic (knowing me, probably a 1000 or so!) but I couldn't find any....
I recently bought the South Africa's War module for Panzer Grenadier, hoping to simulate some of what my dad experienced during his campaigning in the Western Desert in WW2. It was with cold shock, though, that I came across Scenario 6 and 7 in the booklet. My dad rarely spoke of the bad during his time in combat or as a POW, but he mentioned these two incidents with some feeling.
In scenario 6 elements of the 3rd Transvaal Scottish battalion were pinned down during the heat of the day by scathing German fire, while scenario 7 covers the virtual destruction of my father's unit prior to the capture of Tobruk (where he was captured).
What sticks out for me with these scenarios (having been in the military myself) is just how personal my relationship with these little pieces of cardboard became. I was reluctant to expose them to fire in case my dad was amongst them!
I was just wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience....
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51. Board Game: Atlantic Storm [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:2239]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
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My stepdad was in the Merchant Marine, and did two Murmansk runs as chief engineer on a merchie before shifting to Pacific runs out of San Francisco. He fortunately didn't have to swim in the North Atlantic but did take an unscheduled dip in the Pacific.

JR
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52. Board Game: Dauntless [Average Rating:6.48 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.48 Unranked]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
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While my stepdad was toiling in the engine room, my mother and father met as aeronautical engineers in a divebomber plant. Rather than the Dauntless, they were working on the Curtiss-Wright SB2C Helldiver in Columbus, Ohio. It wasn't the most successful design of the war, but needless to say, it holds a special place in my heart.

JR
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53. Board Game: Battle of the Atlantic [Average Rating:6.79 Unranked]
James Blair
United Kingdom
Tadworth
Surrey
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My Dad was born just as the War ended, and was too young for National Service, so military service skipped a generation.

However, his father was in the Royal Navy and spent the war on an old US V&W class destroyed hunting U-boats.

He served in the Med, the Atlantic and one Artic convoy run. His ship for most of the war was HMS Vanoc.


No one really spoke to him about the war, as his generation, EVERYONE had been in the war so it didn't really make him stand out. I think I'm the only one in the family who shows any interest, and go with him to the destroyer association meets. Part of that is because I was in the reserves and was fortunte not to be plunged into a real shooting war - so I have infinte respect for those that have, and;

1) I hate the sea and ships, so went for the Army, so much respect to someone that can live on a ship with a toilet the size of my broom cupboard for several months, surviving ice cold winds, and waves taller than the ship!
2) He joined up the instant war was declared, and was no de-mobbed until 1946, so he survied the whole war


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54. Board Game: First Day of the Somme [Average Rating:6.79 Unranked]
Neil Amoore
South Africa
Benoni
Gauteng
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I really didn't expect this kind of response when I started this list! blush I am touched by everyone's responses about the selfless sacrifices our fathers/ grandfathers/ relatives made in defense of their countries.
I recently got an archivist to draw the miltary records of my father (mentioned in the beginning of this list) and his dad who fought at Delville Wood, part of the Battle of the Somme (1916) with the 3rd South African Infantry Regiment.
What amazed me was that my grandfather, a banker in his 30's, had come to SA to pursue a new life and ended up joining to go back and fight in Europe. He was wounded at Delville Wood and was one of less than a few hundred who survived the battle. I never knew him, but my father would say that he developed a stammer as a result of his experiences (a dud artillery shell reportedly landed a few feet from him).
My father escaped the battle of Sidi Rezegh(his Brigade was decimated and he was transferred to the artillery in time to be sent to Tobruk...) thanks to a Coloured (mixed race) soldier of the Cape Corps, who drove them into the desert and safety by navigating using the stars. This is interesting given the political climate in SA at the time, which forbade non-white volunteers from bearing arms.My dad came home - after three-odd years as a POW - and was a changed man as a result. He joined underground political movements and supported anti-Apartheid organisations, was detained during the Soweto riots of 1976 (I didn't see him for a month) and remained fiercely protective of human rights because, he said, of what combat had taught him about human nature.
Everyone's response here has a been a testament to my dad and millions like him. Thank you all.
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55. Board Game: Mustangs [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:3242]
Chip Coffey
United States
Jacksonville
Florida
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My Father flew a P-51D for the 78th Fighter Group out of Duxford, England, where the Imperial War Museum has its air wing. He flew during the "good times" when the Allies had air supremacy. Years after the war, while on business in West Germany, he met a former Luftwaffe pilot who remembered the distinctive checkerboard nose of the 78th FG. It's possible that they may have shot at one another.
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56. Board Game: Crusade and Revolution: The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 [Average Rating:8.38 Overall Rank:2062]
Antonio B-D
Spain
Madrid
Madrid
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Both my Grand-fathers fought in this war (as I think 99% of Spanish grandparents).

My mother's father was in the military at the time, he passed away three years before I was born so I didn't get to know anything from him. He was an officer in Air Maintenance and fought for the Nationalist. At the end of the war, all the officers were asked if they wanted to volunteer for the Blue Division (Spanish voluntaries in the Russian Front) and they all volunteered. Good thing he wasn't chosen.

My dad's father lived in a small village near Badajoz when the war started and was given two possibilities: joining the Republican army (or whatever militia was strong there) or receiving a bullet. Being a brave man, he signed for the Republican army.

He fought in the first part of the war in Extremadura (vital for the Nationalist to join their northern armies with the southern weapon depots) but being educated (a lawyer) and son of a lawyer he was constantly bullied and threaten by the Parties members (Commies, Anarchist and Socialists). Finally, a captain told him (and other threaten soldiers) to defect to the Nationalist to save their lives. He runned in the middle of the night to the other side being shot by Republicans in one side, and by the Moorish Troops on the other side. He was never a brave man but he had a good sense of humour and accept that my father and uncles mocked him on this.

The worst thing he did in the war (or the ghost that haunted him) was that before defecting, they requested voluntaries for a battle in the East (I think it was near Valencia) and he signed one of the worst bullies up. He later learnt that most of the volunteers from his corp died there and he suffered for the poor fellow that he had signed up.

My Grandmothers were luckier, as one was saved because she was born in England (my great-grandfather was a diplomat) and the other had escaped to Portugal with her family before the war started.


If war is hell, then there is nothing to describe a Civil War.
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57. Board Game: Axis & Allies [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:996]
Ralf Schemmann
Germany
Siegen
NRW
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Is it telling (and if yes, what does it tell) that no German seems to have added to list yet? Or did I miss it? I'll post a few thoughts of mine.

My paternal grandfather was drafted into the Wehrmacht in 1939 and basically spent the next 5 years at war. He was captured by Soviet forces in 1944 and spent the next five years as a prisoner of war. He never saw his son (born in July 1939) grow up.

He was a quiet and kind man who never spoke a bad word about anyone, and he used to say that he while a POW he pitied the soviet soldiers because they were worse off than he was (as an engineer with very useful qualification he got special treatment). But otherwise he never managed to talk about his war experiences and I hardly know anything of his path through WW2. Something I'm very sad about today.

My maternal grandfather was active in the HJ (Hitler Youth), joined the NSDAP early and never got drafted until the Volkssturm, because he was an important steelworks engineer (yeas, I'm from a engineering family) doing a "war important" job. He joined the Volkssturm and got shot through the wrist in May 1945, losing most of the use of his left hand.

He got imprisoned for a very short time by the US forces, was "de-nazified" and soon was replaced in his old position to help rebuild the West German steel industry.

He was a very outgoing and jovial man, most happy with co-workers, friends and family celebrating around him. He never did anyone harm (directly), but got grumpy, narrow-minded and stubborn in his old age, claiming that "if only Hitler had left the Jews alone", everything would have been good. I'm sure most of that was simply to annoy his family around him.

Both are dead. I miss both.

I don't like WW2 wargames. I begrudge nobody the enjoyment they draw from them, but they don't appeal to me at all. I'm sure part of that is due to my family history.

Thanks for a very thought-provoking geeklist.
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58. Board Game: The Fall of France [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:4656]
Piergennaro Federico
Italy
Milano
Unspecified
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My father at the start of the war (1940) was in the Italian Army and fought during the offensive in the western Alps. He was wounded, captured and healed by the French. The war with France ended before they discharged my father from hospidal.
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59. Board Game: Viva España [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:7065]
Cisco Serret
United States
Austin
Texas
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My dad was in the Spanish Civil War, Republican side. His unit was overrun with the help of tanks and stukas. He didn't know what the tanks were, they thought they were monsters as they roared up to their lines in the dark. He was lined up with other prisoners, and they were all shot in the head and dropped into a mass grave. The bullet that hit my dad grazed off the side of his head, but the impact knocked him out. When he woke up, he had to crawl out and sneak into the woods, and he escaped.
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60. Board Game: Attack! [Average Rating:5.88 Overall Rank:3394]
Dan
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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Hmmm... This is the first time I've added something to a list...

My great uncle, who actually taught me my first board game (chess), was captured by the Germans during the occupation of the Ukraine. They seemed to think he was part of the resistance.

They were right. My uncle was actually pretty well off apparently, until the Germans came.

He was lined up with the other men that were rounded up that day and machine-gunned.


Uncle Mikalo fell to the ground, unharmed, and played dead for 36 hours. He later crawled away into the forest. My grandmother thought he was dead, and then he showed up in Canada on her doorstep a decade later. He died when I was 10.

Too bad, would have loved to talk to him as an adult.
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61. Board Game: Liberty: The American Revolution 1775-83 [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:1391]
Ryan Hackel
United States
Falls Church
Virginia
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My side of the family doesn't have much.

d10-1 My uncle Dave was in the Air Force during the later years of Vietnam, but I have no idea what he did, or where he served.
d10-2 My father's father was with the Army Corps of Engineers during the Korean War. We have a few photos of him driving bulldozers around in the Korean mountains, with the dirt red like you'd find in Georgia.
d10-3 My mother's father Audie was an Air Force engine mechanic in the 1950s.
d10-4 My mother's uncle Rudy flew planes "over the hump" between Burma and China during WWII.
d10-5 My mother's grandfather fought for Austria-Hungary during WWI. He emigrated for the United States in the early 1920s.

But my wife's side has much more military history...

d10-1 Her father Larry, as a civilian, witnessed a rocket attack while in Israel in 1970.
d10-2 Her father's father Irving, was an Army Air Corps mechanic in Burma. He contracted malaria there, which killed him 30 years later.
d10-3 Her mother's father James C served in the Navy aboard the destroyer tender AD-20 Hamul (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Hamul_%28AD-20%29). He was the ship's top-ranking cook, and won a commendation for excellence in serving top Navy brass while they were aboard. He really wanted to "kill some Japs", but he was disembarked halfway across the Pacific and shipped home just a week before Hiroshima.
d10-4 Her mother's uncle William was in the Navy too, as an electrician.
d10-5 Her mother's grandfather Jerry Miles was a scout with Whittlesey's Lost Battalion in WWI, 1918 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Battalion).
d10-6 Her mother's great-grandfather's family lived in northwestern Missouri during the Civil War. One of his brothers fought for the Union, and his other brother Johnny S. Ray fought for the Confederacy, presumably killed in 1863 when his letters home stopped coming. We're looking for more info on him, so speak up if you know anything.
d10-7 Her ancestor John Hungate, was a Colonel in the US Army during the War of 1812. Lore tells that he was mortally wounded in battle in November of 1813. As an officer, he was given permission to ride to his home in Washington County, Kentucky. He arrived there the day of the battle and died of his wounds "just after he walked through his front door" (on his daughter's first anniversary). We have no idea what battle this happened in, so info on possible skirmishes would be appreciated.
d10-8 John Hungate's father Charles served with the Virginia Militia during the Revolutionary War, commanded by Charles's older brother William.

(Incidentally, I'm thinking of buying this game... any opinions?)
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62. Board Game: War of the Suns [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:5107]
Rob Lim
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Most of my family were civilians in Malaysia during the Second World War, but I did have one great-uncle who went to China to fight the Japanese. I still don't know which of the armies fighting the Japanese he ended up in, but we didn't have much contact with him until the late 1990s. After the war, he ended up designing costumes for Chinese opera.

I should ask, but I couldn't even begin to guess which chit he might be in.
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63. Board Game: Wallenstein (first edition) [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:185]
Mark Hamburg
United States
Tacoma
Washington
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No one in my family fought in a recent war- my grandfathers both worked on the home front in WW II (one building aircraft carriers and the other working for the Army Corps of Engineers). My dad was in the reserves during Korea, but didn't get sent there. An ancestor of my mom's lied about his age to join the Union Army in the US Civil War, but I don't know that he was actually involved in any battles- I think he may have joined too late for that. Given the frequency of wars in Europe and America, I'm sure that many other ancestors were involved in them, but their stories have been lost.

So the actual only known ancestor of mine who fought in a war was killed in the 30 Years War way back in the 1600s. I only know this because our genealogy tells where he died, when, and notes that it was in a war. From that, I figured that it had to be the 30 Years War.

He was a Swede, which is somewhat ironic as my Swedish grandmother always insisted that Sweden had never been in a war. I guess she meant during her lifetime. When I toss cubes into the tower, I do occasionally think of this ancestor that I otherwise know nothing about.
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64. Board Game: La Batalla del Ebro [Average Rating:5.38 Unranked]
Guillermo Fernandez
Spain
Madrid
Madrid
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One of my grandfathers was Republican, like his whole family, but in National zone. Nationals killed his two brothers with "paseillo" and put him in prison for a year. He got out of prison when he was drafted for the National army. He was from the "quinta del chupete", the pacifier's draft. They had that name because they where the youngers, with barely 15 and 16 years old. He was given the ID of a medic that just died and sent to war. The prison today is a luxurious hotel.

My other grandfather was a Nationalist, like his whole family, but in Republican zone. As younger and younger people were getting drafted he decided to volunteer in a communist army as a cook. He got driven over by a car, and the doctor decided to amputate his leg. His brother had to bring a ham leg (jamón serrano) and explain to the doctor (in the communist army!!) that he was a fellow fascist, not one of those bad communists. Because of that, he only lost a few centimetres of leg, but kept it. After the war, to ease his way back home, he robbed a high officer's uniform and travelled with all luxuries home with it. He was lucky not to be shot because of that.

Both grandfathers fought in the Ebro campaign, in opposite sides. Funny enough, they got together very well and were good friends.

Civil wars are an ugly thing.
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65. Board Game: Manchu [Average Rating:5.84 Overall Rank:7919]
Okay, so I am desperate. The closest any of my family ever get to swing a sabre was my maternal grandfather, an army surgeon who spent the war looking at sick village kids and (most probably) carousing with the nurses. But this civil war sports a rebel Hakka leader by the name of Lai Wenguang (complete with his own counter!). It happens to be my family name and I'm a Hakka so I image there must be some rebellious blood in me. arrrh
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66. Board Game: Jubilée: Dieppe 1942 [Average Rating:5.75 Unranked]
Sebastian
Germany
Hürth
NRW
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My grandfather was on the defending side of this early trial of the Allied forces to seize and hold a major port in 1942.
The Operation was a disaster with up to 70% losses on allied side. Mostly Canadians. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieppe_Raid
My father told me how my grandfather was haunted by the sights from this night all his life.

Two years earlier in 1940, when my grandfather was on holiday from the front in his hometown Cologne, he got to know my grandmother. After they spent the first weekend together he had to leave back to the front. Just while his train was leaving Cologne trainstation the first bomber attack on Cologne was flewn.
My grandmother told me how she did't know for days if the train made it out of town.

Their daughter - my aunt - lives now in Toronto. When I visited Canada last year I also visited the Citadelle of Quebec, where records about canadian soldiers in wars are kept. Reading about those brave young men who fought against my own grandfahter was a strange experiance.

Today I'm more than grateful, that I can look at these dark times as a piece of all our history.
Being able to visit other countries, coming as a friend and communicationg with people all over the world is a marvelous gift of our peaceful time.
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67. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.34 Overall Rank:1]
I fought in this and saw it through its irrelevant, anti-climatical end.
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68. Board Game: Bitter End: A Relief of the Besieged City, 1945 [Average Rating:7.61 Unranked]
Paul Denhup
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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My grandfather fought in the Hungarian army during this mess. It was bizarre because while touring Budapest he would show me the exact places where people he knew got killed, where tanks got knocked out, etc. He then would show me where, in 1956, he blew up Russian tanks again during the revolution. You can still see bullet and shell holes in many of the structure that survived both World War and Revolution. He passed away on June 6, 2007.



The old defense ministry building in Buda, Castle District, Hungary.


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69. Board Game: For Whom the Bell Tolls [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:4338]
Adolfo perez
Spain
cornella de llobregat
barcelona
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As other spanish in this list, my grandfather fighted in the spanish civil war. His simpathies where republican, but he was conscripted by the nacionalists and passed the war just trying to survive.

When I was a child he saw me playing with toy soldiers and he got angry. He couldn't undestand how somebody can found something fun in war.

When I was an adult he begins to speak me about what he lived. He told me that he holds the opened head of a friend on his knees, and how his eyes where still looking at him conscious during several minutes until he deads. He told me about what was hanging from trees after an artillery barrage and things like that. Not a surprise that he hates anything related to war.

I think that most of the WWII veterans had at least a sense for their lived sacrifice, but many of the spanish civil war veterans where not inspired by the side they're fighting for, just the feel of being trapped in it.
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70. Board Game: Bloody Buna [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:6812]
Mark Crocker
United States
Westland
Michigan
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My Dad's other older brother, Omar, was at Buna. He was a Capt. in the divisional artillery (32 Div.). They never recieved their artillery, so spent the campaign fighting as an infantry company. Like almost every unit involved, they had about 70% casualties. He's also the boxer in my avatar.
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71. Board Game: Axis & Allies: Pacific [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:1175]
Ethan Jennings
United States
Colchester
Vermont
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My grandfather fought on Guam, and was at Iwo Jima though he never went ashore. My other grandfather was an airplane mechanic on Iceland, keeping bombers and such going to Europe.
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72. Board Game: Panzer Grenadier: Alaska's War [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
Kenneth Bailey
United States
Ypsilanti
Michigan
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Can't find a game for Dutch Harbor, but my Grandpa on my mom's side was there when it was bombed by the Japanese. Someone in her family has his Purple Heart for that (He wasn't killed but got wounded). Here's one of his ships:

http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/m3/manileno-ii.htm



My Grandpa on my dad's side was a Seabee, but it sounded like he was more towards the rear.

My Great Uncle on my Dad's side was on the Neosho when it was blown up by the Japanese.
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73. Board Game: B-17: Queen of the Skies [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:956]
Scott Pease
United States
Tarzana
California
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My grandfather-in-law, Eliis Andras, was a co-pilot on B-17 that flew many bombing missions out of Hitchens, England. Early in the war he volunteered for extra missions so that he could return back home to Louisiana to see his wife and new baby (my father in-law). During one such extra mission his plane was badly damaged, but he was able to land the severely damaged B-17 back in England. All aboard were killed in the crash except for Ellis, but Ellis died in the hostpital three days later. Although we never knew him, we think of him often.
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74. Board Game: Heavy Weight Boxing [Average Rating:5.20 Unranked]
Kris Miller
United States
Morgan Hill
California
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Yep. I'm descended from a Golden Gloves boxer. Not a famous one though.
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75. Board Game: Bismarck [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:2952]
simon thornton
United Kingdom
Liverpool
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My best friends uncle was on the Hood but wasnt one of the 3 survivors.

My two grandfathers where in the merchant navy both survived the war despite one being hit by a Kamikaze in the pacific (so he said !).
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