There is not much direct connection between the events of D-Day with the Editors of Jeremy-Gilby-dot-com. We know that one of our maternal uncles served in World War II (before our mother was born) but we were never certain in what capacity they served.
However, we are aware of a story, of the subject’s telling, that our paternal grandfather was serving in the United States Army during the events of Operation Overlord.
I’ve mentioned my Grandfather before, but rarely. He was not the greatest of men, but I am thankful that I can look back and think of him as a hero.
George Gilby was a mechanic for the United States Army working for the United States Air Force. In 1944 he was stationed in Italy, after it was captured by Allied forces. He told me the story of his involvement in D-Day. He was working around the clock to keep an airfield of B-25s in the air, to distract the Nazis from the events happening in France.
He related stories of doing everything possible to keep the planes airborne before, during and after the events at Normandy. Looking back at those air missions over the Alps, it kept the Nazis from sending reinforcements to the landing, thus saving lives in the process.
Given the sordid nature of the story of my grandfather, this is one of those memories where I’m proud to be his grandson. And that memory returns every anniversary of D-Day.
George Gilby died in 2000, one of the flags which the United States Army provided for his funeral is displayed proudly in my Living Room.