The wartime story of S/115863 Staff Serjeant Edwin John Inge
Like so many of his generation, Edwin (Ted) Inge was called up to fight in World War Two. This is his story as told to his daughter, the story of a very ordinary man who, along with thousands of others, was called upon to do his bit.
As Time Goes By
On 27th April 1946, just two months after being 'demobbed', Ted married my mother, Beryl Gwendoline Hayward at the Parish Church in Folkestone. She had worked for the Royal Engineers and also as an air-raid warden during the war.
Ted and Beryl Inge's wedding, Folkestone, April 1946. My mother has always described her dress as 'pale mushroom', and so it appears in an identical 'colour' photograph to this one. But, as colour photography was still in its infancy, the effect was achieved by painting by hand the colours onto the original black and white photo.
Ted returned to life in 'civvy street' working first as a Civil Servant and then more latterly in Local Government, retiring as an Assistant Director at Southend Borough Council. During my childhood and as a young adult, he refused to consider returning to Normandy despite several requests on my part for him to go back. It wasn't until his then 11 year old grand-daughter, who was studying the Second World War, made the same request that he was eventually persuaded to do so. Here is his brief account of that visit
Incidentally, I didn't visit Normandy again until the summer of 2001 during a short holiday in France. It was a very emotional visit, especially as my family came with me. My granddaughters were most intrigued to see the actual spot (within 50 yards or so!) where I came ashore – some memories remain for ever.
I also went back in the summer of 2004, at the invitation of the Normandy Regional Council to receive the medal, especially struck by the Council for all Normandy survivors to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Normandy landings. The ceremony took place at one of the fine Abbeys in Caen, the Normandy capital. I saw Caen several times during 1944, and my memory tells me it was just a heap of ruins – now it is a flourishing, modern city, completely rebuilt.
Surviving Normandy Veterans from all of the allied countries were awarded with a commemorative medal by the French Government in Normandy in 2004. Accompanied by his family, Ted was presented with his medal at the Abbaye aux Dames, in Caen on 30th July 2004. He is shown here second from the right in the front row. The medals were presented by M Philippe Bonneau, Vice President of the Lower Normandy Regional Council, Normandy 2004.
The picture below shows Ted and Beryl Inge following the medal presentation ceremony, Normandy 2004. His newly awarded commemorative Normandy medal is on right lapel. On the left side he wears the 1939-1945 Star for general service throughout the war anywhere, the France and Germany Star awarded to those serving in France and Germany in 1944-1945, the Defence Medal for services at home awarded to civilians eg firemen and ambulance people who worked in the Blitz as well as the Forces, and the Victory Medal awarded to all those who served in any capacity (the reverse shows the Lion killing the Dragon). Below this he wears the Normandy Campaign medal to which all those who served in Normandy between 6th June and 20th August 1944 are entitled.
Ted and Beryl now live in Fernhurst, West Sussex, and will shortly be celebrating their Diamond (60th) Wedding Anniversary.