Hill 112 and Albert Figg
We were up fairly early in the morning and headed off to Hill 112 ready to meet Albert Figg, a veteran of the campaign there. Albert is the guy who did most of the fundraising to put a Churchill tank on top of the Hill in memory of the men that fought and died there. He is now trying to raise sufficient funds to plant 112 trees and also to have a statue of an advancing infantryman on the hill as part of the continuing memorial to the fighting that took place there.
We arrived early which enabled us to take a number of photographs. Hill 112 is the high point of a long ridge and is almost unremarkable with very gentle slopes. But, get to the point where these sweep away and then you can see the fantastic views that anyone on top of the hill would have of anyone either approaching or moving in the distance. As I was delivering a talk in July to the Manchester Military History Society focusing on Operation EPSOM, I thought that it made sense to have plenty of “on location” photographs.
Albert arrived with his son and daughter… in style and in what can only described as a “Popemobile”!! This had photographs of Albert (never a shy chap!) and the words: “Albert Figg, veteran on tour” and, whatever you might think, this is a great way of publicising what is trying to do and certainly ensures that he’s not missed!
In the lead up to our visit, Albert and I had been in touch regarding our usual meal in the village of Evrecy. Unfortunately, as Nigel was not able to join us and as he normally undertook the booking of the room, I offered to do that on our behalf. Unfortunately, my French is not good, but I managed to explain to the owners of the restaurant that there would be probably 9 of us there for a meal. Then, within about an hour of booking this, Albert had sent me another e-mail saying that there was probably another 5 people coming! Another hour and another 5 people! In between time, Albert had also sent me an e-mail asking if I could pick up a tin of tank paint! Of course I hadn’t realised that this was with Nigel and so I had visions of walking into the French equivalent of B&Q and asking for a tin of tank paint! Fortunately we were able to sort this out!
Albert is silenced!
As usual, the meal in the lovely little Italian restaurant le Poivrier was up to its usual standard & we made the decision that Albert (as usual) wouldn’t pay… though I did give him a shock when announcing that, as it was the 70th anniversary of D Day, it was only fair that, for a change, he should pay for us… all 20 of us! For the first time that I’ve known him, he was lost for words!! However, normality was returned when I explained that I was only joking and, having charged everyone a fair share of the cost of the meal, and having put my creative accounting skills into operation ensuring that we had enough left over for a reasonable donation to Albert’s latest scheme of planting 112 trees up on the Hill as a lasting & living memorial to all of those that fought & died there.
Photographing Operation EPSOM
Having finished our meal and left Albert to head off to Caen for the presentation of his Legion d’Honneur from the French Government, we decided to go and take some more photographs for my operation Epsom talk.
We were able to visit the villages of Bougy and Gavrus including the 15th Scottish Division memorial there. We then realised that time was running away with us and we needed to head off to Tony and Jill Stansfields where we were staying for the night.