Had an interesting conversation with Wendy our cleaner this morning. She noticed the usual pile of WW2 books on my desk and told me her uncle had been one of the first on the beaches "at Dunkirk" and that a famous picture of him had appeared in the press on the 50th anniversary of the landings.
I suspected she meant the D-Day landings and the well known Sgt Mapham picture from Sword Beach came to mind. I flicked through a couple of books and showed her the photograph. One caption, although French, identified three sappers - Jimmy Leask, Cyril Hawkins and Fred Sadler. "That's him!" she said "Fred Sadler!".
It's a small world.
Here's the full caption and picture (from the Imperial War Museum archive in London).
In the foreground are Sappers Jimmy Leask (left, glancing up at the photographer) and Cyril Hawkins of No. 1 Platoon, 84 Field Company RE, whilst on the right, walking towards the camera past the medical orderlies of No. 8 Field Ambulance, is Sapper Fred Sadler of the same Platoon. All three members of 84 Fd Coy RE survived the war
The British 2nd Army: support troops of the 3rd British Infantry Division assembling on ‘Queen Red’ Beach, SWORD Area, near la Breche, Hermanville-sur-Mer, at 8.30 am on 6 June while under intermittent enemy mortar and shell fire. In the foreground and on the right, identified by the white bands around their helmets, are sappers of 84 Field Company Royal Engineers, part of No.5 Beach Group. Behind them, heavily laden medical orderlies of 8 Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps (some of whom are assisting wounded men) prepare to move off the beach. In the background can be seen men of the 1st Battalion, the Suffolk Regiment and the Lord Lovat’s No. 4 Army Commando landing from LCI(S)s (Landing Craft Infantry Small) of Naval Force S.
Mapham J (Sgt)
No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit
IWM HU 87440