BOB CURTIS: History lesson for today's youngsters
MOST of today's youngsters are lucky because they appear to live only for 'now' and don't care much about what happens in the future… or indeed what has gone before!
OK, I might be generalising a wee bit and slightly unfair to the few who do care, sorry!
What brought this theory to mind was last week overhearing two teenagers discussing television programmes.
One remarked that there was too much 'old history' about the last war and not enough sporting events or rock music.
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It just so happens I was walking towards the Breakwater Hard and remembered watching American and Allied troops marching, in almost complete silence, as they prepared to embark on-board the waiting craft moored at the temporary pontoons.
They were departing across the Channel to invade Normandy and defeat Hitler.
'Tis true, we Cowtown ragamuffins had no real concept of the danger or sacrifices those brave souls were about to undertake.
Our thoughts centred on the packets of gum and candy the Yanks passed to us, as they marched down the ramps towards the waiting boats.
To mark what those brave servicemen gave to this nation and to show respect for various Brixham people's contribution, veterans such as Robbie Robinson and his colleagues have battled long and hard to have this section of the harbour area recognised for the part it played in the war effort.
Consequently, on November 9, there will be a quiet ceremony out there to place a permanent plaque, honouring those who set forth and perhaps to remind some of us growing old and forgetful, just how important those dark days were to this island's future.
Who knows, perhaps any 'youngsters' passing by might be intrigued enough to discover what made us what we are!
STILL out at the base of the Breakwater, I got chatting to an ol' boy who'd lived here for a year just before the war.
I say, ol' boy, but on reflection we were about the same age!
You ancient fool, Robert!
Anyway, he asked if I recalled the old coal hulk 'London City' that was moored halfway along the Breakwater.
She serviced coastal steamers with coal bunkers and during the years supplied hundreds of passing vessels. It turned out that his uncle had worked on-board the London City as a coal trimmer and apparently after the questioner joined the air force in 1942 he'd lost track of what happened to the old boat... ah, yes, so he was older than me!
I was only able to tell him that London City began life as a Clyde-built freighter in 1882 and although only having a cargo capacity of some four thousand tons, to us kids she was massive.
I also told how we'd watched German aircraft skim across the Bay attempting to destroy the fuel tanks in the quarry.
They tried to sink the London City as they passed but thankfully missed both targets.
Unfortunately, the blast from a bomb exploding underwater shook rivets loose in the vessel's hull and she slowly sank.
Sadly, I couldn't remember when she'd been raised or what eventually became of her.
Perhaps some kind reader could advise me on what happened to the old vessel.
Or, I could make inquiries at the Heritage Museum... if they'd let me in?
I KNOW we often have a go at both Torbay and our local town council but let's be fair, reading various newspapers reports about the strange actions of some councils throughout the land, perhaps we should count our blessings.
Did you read about some 'jobsworth' safety officer, working for Blackburn Council, who told the owner of a florist shop that she was breaching the ban on smoking in a workplace by exhibiting a model of an Alice in Wonderland character, smoking a pretend pipe in her shop window? Help!
Another case involved a certain east coast council sending a letter requesting a planning application from the owners of a public toilet which had been closed for ten years, and, it gets worse, council owned! Double help!
The greatest indignity, however, was an authority stating that members of the public should not stand in a council-run theatre, during the playing of the national anthem, because of health and safety!
Thankfully, the council later issued an apology.
Thank goodness for the relative sanity of both our councils. Amen!