Monday, 29 April 2013

We Have Fallen from a Great Height

Britain used to be a nation of tough, disciplined, public-spirited people with high moral standards and a work ethic. Most of those words now sound as if they come from a foreign language.
"Duty" has been replaced by "rights". "Rights" means demanding a soft, easy, lazy, decadent lifestyle with no responsibilities, duties or morals.
  Result: we are a weak country and people can walk all over us.
The obituary of Ted Doyle, a WW2 battle hero who died last week aged 90 tells us a lot about how far Britain has fallen from its former greatness.
Ted who won a Military Medal in Italy in 1944 for single-handedly saving his section from an enemy assault, came from a very humble background.  Was he socially excluded? Not in his own eyes.
"Douglas Edward Doyle was born on Christmas Eve 1922 at Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, one of 11 children whose father had served with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers at Gallipoli and was gassed and wounded on the Western Front. The family was poor, and often relied on the Salvation Army for food. On Sundays, Ted would rise early to accompany his father and brother to steal vegetables from nearby fields. He was only 11 when he started work, and gave his wage to his mother, keeping one penny a week for pocket money."
Contrast that with the life of the modern teenager. Ted had no luxuries, no foreign holidays, no television, no internet, no government grant, no money for drink or drugs, no sex with girls who are given the contraceptive pill by teachers at school. Just work. Hard work. If it hadn't been for the War he would probably never have gone abroad.
Ted was employed as an ironworks scrap cutter when he signed up with his father's regiment, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in June 1940. After transferring to the Royal Fusiliers he was posted to Algiers, then he took part in the battle of Monte Cassino. His worst experiences were yet to come.
"On the night of August 1/2 the 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers was advancing towards a low ridge near Strada, a town on the still strongly held Gothic Line. The Fusiliers had to approach along a road that had been heavily mined and came under machine-gun, mortar and artillery fire.
Doyle was in the leading section of the platoon in the company at the head of the advance when, at about 11pm, it came under fire from a light machine gun. This was immediately followed by intense small arms fire from the flanks, making it possible for seven or eight of the enemy to rush Doyle’s section of 11 men. It was he who first saw the Germans coming. Although the bright moonlight made him an easy target, Doyle remained alone in the open, firing his Bren gun from his hip. He repelled the enemy attack, killing or wounding at least five. According to the citation for his Military Medal, it was his coolness, initiative and courage that allowed his section to be extricated and rejoin the remainder of the platoon."
   Self-sacrifice, courage, nobility ...when did we lose them? Where did they go? The men of Ted Doyle's generation really had something to be proud about  - and they never boasted.


  1. These modern teenagers, eh? You're quite right to point out how they didn't fight in WW2.

    When I have children, I will sign them up to fight in WW2 like proper heroes.

  2. It doesn't have to be WW2 of course.
    There are many other ways that people can seek to be noble, brave and altruistic. Maybe you should try looking for some?

  3. Ted Doyle was my grandfather. What a lovely write up thank you.

  4. Ted Doyle was my grandfather. What a lovely write up. Thankyou.