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D-Day – 70 years on!

June 6, 2014
June 6, 2014 - D-Day – 70 years on!
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Today is 70 years on from the start of Operation Overlord. On the morning of the 6th June 1944, over 150,000 Allied troops landed on the coast of occupied France and began the long and weary fight to defeat the Nazis and free occupied Europe.

With ceremonies to mark the anniversary taking place all over the country, including a church service at St Oswald's Church in Ashbourne at 6pm this evening, what better occasion to think about your own family's experience of the war?

Here at Hoe Grange, our family history was closely entwined with the war.

Bill Robinson merchant seaman
Able Seaman Bill Robinson

During the second World War Felicity's father, William Robinson, or Bill as he was known, was a radio operator in the Royal Navy. Throughout the remainder of his life he could still talk in morse code!

At the start of World War II in 1939, the Royal Navy was the largest in the world, but it suffered huge losses in the early stages. The Navy's role during WW2 was to provide cover during operations and evacuations such as Dunkirk; guard the sea lanes and escort convoys across the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans protecting them from air, surface and submarine attack.

Bill served on several different ships as an Able Seaman, including the HMS Cowslip, HMS Launceston Castle, HMS Florizel, a minesweeper and finally HMS Vengeance, a Colossus class light aircraft carrier launched in February 1944.

Both Bill and Olive developed a love for boats that never left them and even their grandson, Elliot, has inherited their passion for sailing and has recently qualified as an assistant sailing instructor at the nearby Carsington Water.

Torpedo Wren Olive Clement
Leading Torpedo Operator Olive Clement

Felicity's mother, Olive Clement, served in the Women's Royal Naval Service - more popularly known as the Wrens. She was a Leading Wren - just under the rank of a Petty Officer in Navy terms - and it was her job to take the telephones lines on board the ships as soon as they came into port. It was important for the officers on board to be able to contact people on the shore right up until the last moment before the ship set sail. Indeed, Olive once left it too late and the gang plank had been removed, trapping her and the precious telephone on board! Luckily, a crane had only just finished loading some supplies and Olive was able to jump on the hook at the end of the hoist line and be swung back to shore.

Later, Olive became a Torpedo Operator working in Southampton, responsible for clambering into the torpedo tubes to clean them out, before checking that the torpedoes were correctly loaded and in working order before a ship went off to battle, rather a risky business!

Lnad girls in World War 2
Land girls, equally important to the war effort

David's family had a different experience of the war. As farmers, David's father, Gordon Brown, his mother Anne Bunting and thier families, were not called up for active service as farming was a 'reserved occupation'. Instead, they served thier country in another equally valuable way - by producing much needed food on the family farms near Ashbourne!

The Second World War meant food shortages across Britain and farmers were under lots of pressure to produce food for the nation. Land Girls were drafted in to replace farm labourers gone off to war and to help the farm produce as much as possible. They performed a wide range of jobs, including milking cows, lambing, managing poultry, ploughing, gathering crops, digging ditches, catching rats and carrying out farm maintenance work! You can discover more about the Women's Land Army on the BBC website.

If you're interested in researching your own family history during the war, why not check out the National Archives? Or if your ancestors come from the Peak District area, you might find information in the Derbyshire Record Office.

Find out more about the history of D-Day on the D-Day Museum website and follow events for the anniversary on the BBC.

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Hoe Grange Holidays Tripadvisor Comments...

  •   Second visit to the accessible holiday cabins at Hoe Grange. David and Felicity were as helpful and friendly as ever. We had a welcome pack of freshly baked bread, butter,... read more

    Charlotte M
    8/07/2019

      We've just returned from our second visit to Hoe Grange. The suggested riding routes with stunning scenery were enjoyed by my daughter and I while the menfolk were delighted with... read more

    Jdrichie12
    7/11/2019

      What can I say?
    Absolutely superb!
    We have just returned from a family weekend staying in Daisybank cabin and the Skylark pod.
    It was our first trip away with my... read more

    Wheelieuser
    6/13/2019
  •   Myself and my sister travelled to Costa Rica and Panama via Viva Holidays Ltd. The holiday was exceptional and one to be treasured forever. Andrew at Viva Holidays... read more

    Paula C
    7/04/2019

      We stayed in Rainster cabin for a long weekend 6 th to 9 th September. This was my 5 th visit to the amazing Hoe Grange. I had visited before... read more

    Jan Horsman J
    9/17/2019

      We wanted a complete break and some peace and quiet and this was perfect. The caravan was secluded with beautiful views over the countryside. Everything was spotlessly clean and well... read more

    joanne B
    6/04/2019
  •   On arriving at Hoe Grange in a downpour, we doubted if we’d made the right decision to go glamping, but after the warm welcome from David and a quick tour,... read more

    karenmD4738KD
    6/25/2019

      We had a lovely time staying in one of the incredibly well equipped pods. I bought my pony along and we had some great rides on the high peak trail.... read more

    plopster1
    6/07/2019

      Arrived and was shown to our pod, fantastic location and the pod was very good indeed plus we had home made bread and milk and tea and coffee. A... read more

    mickvfr
    7/28/2019
  •   Another great holiday at Hoe Grange - such a great place for us all to holiday as a family - this time with a baby, a 3 yr old, a... read more

    Thesamps
    10/04/2019

      We love this place. Very wheelchair friendly, really well equipped and comfortable, with easy access by car to lots of places of interest particularly Crich Tramway Village, Chatsworth, Bakewell and... read more

    David H
    10/25/2019

      Stayed last week, from 6th to 13th September in the log cabin called Hipley. This was amazing, it was our first visit but certainly not our last. Gold standard disability... read more

    548julie
    9/14/2019
  •   We stayed in Pinder cabin and had a lovely stay, the cabin was spacious and comfortable, nice and warm after cold days out. The children loved meeting the animals and... read more

    Tiggywinkle15
    11/05/2019

      Loved every minute of our stay, and so did the family and friends that came to stay. Excellent facilities in our cosy Hipley log cabin. By far the best... read more

    krimpenijssel
    10/25/2019

      We have just returned from a short stay in one of the pods on site at Hoe Grange Holidays. We couldn’t recommend them enough. The pod has everything you could... read more

    Catboy86
    8/17/2019
  •   Lovely place to holiday near to interesting locations and easy access to the High Peak trail and Carsington Water. Part of a working farm with fresh produce to enjoy during... read more

    Angie B
    8/03/2019

      We stayed in the Skylark pod last October (2018) and had a lovely time. There was homemade, rustic goods (bread, biscuits etc) when we arrived. Felicity and David who run... read more

    KBarry
    9/15/2019

      What a lovely weekend away! We stayed in the lovely gypsy caravan, which was a wonderful and really unique experience. We took along our two horses, who also had a... read more

    rachelthomas2015
    6/18/2019
  •   It's been three years since we last visited but once we arrived it certainly didn't feel like it!
    We stayed in Hipley again which had had a refurbished wet... read more

    ElizabethA717
    9/21/2019

      Recently spent a week in "Pinder" and had a lovely time. The location is stunning - the site is nestled in a beautiful valley on the edge of the Peaks... read more

    Peachey167
    7/16/2019

      For the second year running, we have had a great family holiday at Hoe Grange. We had one cabin for the week, for two sisters and our elderly wheelchair-using... read more

    EJYork2013
    6/25/2019
  •   lovely surroundings real farm country with chickens paying you a visit nice decking area to chill at the end of the day accommodation very good plenty to do nearby... read more

    vincent s
    7/28/2019

      We spent four nights at Hoe Grange and had a lovely time. The location is fantastic and right next to the High Peak Trail. The cabin was very clean and... read more

    Big_Al_0000
    7/16/2019

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