Lamplight of Peace and Soldier’s Stories- a special journey

If you visited the D-Day 80 display in the gallery room, or looked at the admin Office D-Day 80 window, you may have spotted our soldier stories booklet. This was a community element of our D -Day commemoration plans.

We engaged with members of the public and older residents in Care Homes to uncover stories of local soldiers and other that were living through the war and their memories of D- Day and that time.

We also collaborated with volunteers from Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, local authors and historians and family members to gather some of them.

Listening to people gathering these thoughts and sharing memories with us was often deeply moving and humbling.
One gentleman didn’t think his story was very interesting…oh! but it was. Personal, lived history is fascinating.

Councillors wanted to give a copy of these stories and a Lamplight of peace to each of the Care Homes that wanted one. These were delivered to them in time for the 6th June, so they could use them to commemorate D-Day themselves.

We also gave a copy of the booklet and a lantern to a group of cadets from Oxfordshire ACF, Witney Detachment who were attending the commemorations at Pegasus Bridge on the 6th of June as we were asked if there was something we would like them to take which represents a veteran from their own community which can be left at the bridge in France. Our army cadets have direct links to Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry, so some of the stories in the book would be very relevant to them.

Today they have kindly updated us with progress of the lantern. It’s lovely to hear more about this very special journey.

“I just thought I’d give you an update on the travels with the lantern the Town Council so kindly have us to take to Normandy. We have had it with us as we visited the many sites, I had hoped to take it to Bayeux Commonwealth Wargraves cemetery and there pay our respects to Witney soldier William “Billy” Moss who fell on D-Day and lies buried at the cemetery, but unfortunately the large official ceremonies and accompanying security taking place there made this impossible.

However tomorrow we have a very poetic situation, as our D-Day tour every year attends two local memorial services at two small towns, Escoville and Herouvillette, where the Oxf and Bucks who landed at Pegasus Bridge fought in the days and weeks after D-Day. These are small, intimate ceremonies we traditionally attended to support the veterans and now attend to support the families now that the veterans have passed. In the town of Herouvillette in the town’s church yard lie buried a number of Oxf and Bucks soldiers, including (unknown to me until recently) Witney soldier Captain James Marriot GM who was killed on the 10th June fighting around the town. So I intend that following the ceremony, when we go into the church yard to pay our respects, myself and the Witney cadets will hold a small act of remembrance for James with our lantern.” 

SSI Andy Hames
Detachment Staff
Witney Detachment
Somme Company
Oxfordshire (The Rifles) Battalion
Army Cadet Force

Read our Soldier Stories Booklet


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