HC-One care homes across the country have been preparing for Remembrance Day on Saturday 11th November.
At Rose Court Care Home in Radcliffe, Manchester, residents have been reflecting on their memories from World War II.
John Fisher, a resident at Rose Court Care Home who is 100 years old, worked as a fireman on the steam trains during the war, ferrying the troops around the country. John loved meeting different nationalities. His wife, Gertrude was a Civil Servant working in the post office.
When talking to colleagues about the war, John Fisher commented: “It was hard work being away from the family, life skills were learnt. The war was a very sad time.”
Daphne Coldridge, a resident at Rose Court Care Home who is also 100 years old also comes from a military background. Daphne’s father and her brother were both in the army. Sadly, she lost her brother in the war and said that it that broke her mother’s heart. Daphne recalls how she worked in a factory making parts for aircrafts during World War II which she said was hard work and her husband Kenneth, served in the war as a sailor. Daphne remembers saving stamps, which were used to buy material for her bridesmaids’ dresses. She says that even though her sister worked for Express Dairies and was the head person there, she didn’t get any extra or had any perks, so they had to be very careful with money.
When describing her experience in the war, Daphne Coldridge, said: “The food was rationed, and the dried eggs were horrible. The noise of the sirens was not nice, and I used to watch the bombs falling from the sky.”
To mark Remembrance Day on the 11th November at Rose Court, local performer Sarah Denis will be singing some classic wartime songs to residents. The live Remembrance Day ceremony will also be put on TV at the home for residents to watch. The following day, a group of residents and colleagues at the care home are going to the local Cenotaph and will be wearing their poppies with pride to lay a poppy wreath, purchased from the local British Legion. Residents and colleagues then plan to go back to the home and make a toast to all those who served in the war. Care Assistant, Nicola Watson, has also crocheted some poppies which will go on sale in the home.
At Trafalgar Park Care Home in Nelson, Caerphilly, residents have been preparing for Remembrance Day and colleagues have been chatting to residents, Dennis Stevens and Gwyneth Lambert about their experience throughout World War II.
Dennis, who turned 98 earlier this year, and marked the occasion with a party at Trafalgar Park Care Home which people from the community attended including Woody’s Lodge (who are a local support group for veterans), local veterans, the mayor, and Caerphilly Council, as well as residents and colleagues. Dennis recalled that he loved being a Marksman in the army and trained as a sniper.
Dennis Stevens, resident at Trafalgar Park, said: “The street was the main street in the town and there were German snipers hiding down the alley.
“I don’t remember seeing any army photographers on that day, as they were so fast at taking out their cameras and putting them back away.”
Dennis showed colleagues and his fellow residents a photo of a group of young men who could be seen running as fast as they could across the road, in an attempt not to get shot.
Dennis was then in Germany for a total of seven years. It was here that he fell in love with Analisa, and they had a daughter called Ingrid. Dennis recalls how his daughter used to call him ‘Papa’. After that, Dennis never returned to Germany or Normandy but when he spoke to fellow veterans who visited earlier in the year, they wanted to arrange to take Dennis back to Normandy, as he often talks about this.
Fellow resident, Gwyneth Lambert also shared her memories from the war. She was born in Llansannor, a small village in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales, in July 1919, just eight months after the first world war ended. She was one of six daughters and recalls how her parents always wanted a son but only had girls.
When asked about the war, Gwyneth remembers that she was at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff, when World War II was declared. During this time, Gwyneth was looking after a little girl whose father worked in the Home Office.
During the war, Gwyneth got married on 17th March 1940 (St Patrick’s Day). Her husband was in the army, joining at just 16 years old. Ten months after they got married, he was transferred to the Middle East.
Gwyneth remembers that she could hear the difference between German bombers and British bombers, with the German bombs making a drone noise. Gwyneth was a Nurse during the war, working with the Red Cross in the army hospital. When the war was over, Gwyneth’s husband came home, and their daughter was born 10 months later.
Joan Thomas, Home Manager at Trafalgar Park care home, commented: “It is an honour and privilege to be part of the care team that supports Dennis and Gwen. Their thoughts, and comments echo what a frightening and uncertain time this period must have been and how very lucky us, younger generation are, that we had such dedicated and committed people fighting for us.”
To mark Remembrance Day this year, Trafalgar Park Care Home are having entertainment, including war-themed songs and a sing-along which the residents are very much looking forward to.
At Market Lavington Care Home, near Devizes in Wiltshire, to mark Remembrance Day, residents and colleagues wanted to do something special in memory of the soldiers who have fought for what we have today. As part of the home’s wellbeing sessions, colleagues have put together memorial displays in the home for residents to visit and look through the selection of war memorabilia to reminisce. On the run up to Remembrance Day, Market Lavington’s Wellbeing Team organised a number of remembrance afternoons including a Remembrance Day service hosted by Reverend Malcolm Weick. Reverend Weick bought along a hand knitted poppy for each of the residents attending the service, which had been made by a lady at his local church. The residents came together and sang in remembrance of those who have fallen.
Natasha Howard, Home Manager at Market Lavington, stated: “It’s important to our residents to remember those who fought and died in the wars. Some of our residents served during World War II and it’s important to them to pay tribute and show respect to their fallen comrades.”