The following Memorial Day post was originally published on May 25th, 2015:
Dame Vera Lynn
Today is Memorial Day, and I’m feeling humbly grateful to all of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Since I’ve been reading a lot of WWII history lately, I’ve also been playing a lot of WWII-era music here in my sanctuary to all things radio.
Few songs sum up the yearning sentiment of World War II better than Vera Lynn’s 1942 rendition of “The White Cliffs of Dover.” It’s an iconic song, one that helped British soldiers see beyond the war while mourning its painful toll. It was written in 1941 when England was taking heavy casualties, just before American allies joined the effort.
This morning, seeking something with a little authenticity, I played “The White Cliffs of Dover” though my SStran AM transmitter, and listened to it through “Scottie,” my WWII-era Scott Marine radio (above). I made this recording by placing my Zoom H2N recorder directly in front of the Scott’s built-in monitor speaker.
So here you go: a little radio tribute to all of those who fell–on both sides–of that infamous second world war.
And thanks to all who serve and have served in the name of “peace ever after.”
The National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting in West Chester will host a 75th anniversary commemoration of the D-Day landing on Thursday, June 6 at 9 a.m. on the museum’s front lawn.
The event sponsored by Kehoe Financial Advisors of Cincinnati will honor the memory of WW II soldiers who participated in D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, as well as veterans of all wars.
After a color guard presentation by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7696 and a brief ceremony, veterans and other attendees will be invited inside the museum for free coffee, donuts and museum tours until noon.
The public is invited.
Coffee will be donated by CAVU of West Chester, with donuts provided by Kroger stores in Sharonville and on Tylervsille Road in West Chester.
“D-Day was the largest seaborne invasion in the history of the world and put Allied troops on the trajectory to win World War II,” said Ken Rieser, VOA Museum board president. “The sacrifice in human life that day alone is sobering—about 4,500 Allied soldiers and from 3,000 to 9,000 Nazi troops.”
During Operation Overlord, which occurred from the June 6, 1944 D-Day landing through August 30, 1944, when German troops retreated east across the Seine River, more than 425,000 Allied and German troops died, according to Barrett Tillman’s D-Day Encyclopedia (2014, Regnery Publishing), on www.HistoryontheNet.com. About 209,000 were estimated to be Allied troops.
“Although many of the soldiers who participated in D-Day are no longer with us, we want to commemorate their sacrifice—as well as the sacrifices of all veterans in all wars since then,” said Tom Keller of Kehoe Financial Advisors. “D-Day is a solemn day, but also an uplifting reminder of what our country can accomplish when we band together for a just cause.”
RSVPs are requested by noon on Wednesday, June 5 for the D-Day commemoration at email@example.com to ensure adequate food and beverages.
However, I’ve got quite a number of books in my to-be-read stack at the moment, so Hear My Voice lay in wait on my bookshelf until this past Sunday, when I decided to read the first chapter––just to get a taste of it.
Although I had a very busy day in store––working on a home renovation and making several trips into town––nevertheless I struggled to pull it from the stack, and having rapidly consumed the first chapters, had a hard time putting the book down. By the day’s end, I found I had read the entire book.
While those who know me know I’m a bit of a WWII history buff, I only knew that Hitler’s seizure of the Czech Sudetenland was but a hint of what was to come. The history I’d read previously had provided a bit of insight into this crucial lead-up to the war, but not as Vaughan’s book does: in what feels like a first hand account, through the eyes of an interpreter and broadcaster. I was hooked.
Hear My Voice clearly indicates how transformative the medium of radio was in this era, and how deliberate and insidious Nazi propaganda became in the Sudetenland years before Czechoslovakia ever took notice.
All in all, it’s a great read. I think you’ll find Hear My Voiceas intriguing as I did.
John Norman writes in the East Anglia Daily Times about the Foxhall transmission site just outside Ipswich which played a key role in WW2 and the Cold War
Getting a coded signal back to the States, both during the Second World War and the Cold War, proved incredibly difficult. The solution was Operation Tea Bag: a scheme to connect telephone switching stations from across Europe, as far south as Italy, to Foxhall for forward transmission across the Atlantic.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Charlie (W4MEC), who shares this fascinating film which documents the production and calibration of crystals in 1943. I had no idea of the amount of labor and attention to detail this process required–an absolutely fascinating process:
Czechoslovak Radio in the mid-1930s, photo: Czech Radio
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John Palmer (KC8RZM), who writes:
Was listening to Radio Prague yesterday evening, there was a very interesting item where author, David Vaughan, was interviewed and talked about his most recent book “Hear My Voice” a novel which deals with the lead-up to WWII and in which Czech Radio plays a part:
The play, on which the novel is based, was commissioned by Czech Radio and was awarded the Czech Book readers’ award for 2015. In the interview the importance of this then new technology called radio was discussed and its influence, for good or bad, in the world at large, an interesting parallel to today’s discussion on the role of the internet and social media. From the capsule bio on the book cover his background is in languages and radio (BBC and Czech Radio).
“1938 was a turning point in the histories of Europe and the media. When Hitler annexed Austria and then turned his attention to Czechoslovakia, radio was at the heart of events. Battle for the Airwaves looks at the Munich crisis as it was played out on the radio stations of Czechoslovakia, Germany, Britain and the United States, and reveals just how central a role radio played in the run-up to the Munich Agreement and beyond. It is a story of propaganda and counter-propaganda, censorship and self-censorship. It is also a story of courage and innovation. Munich was a fateful step in the road to World War Two; it also marked the beginning of the age of the electronic media. Published in English and Czech in a single, illustrated, hardback volume, Battle for the Airwaves is accompanied by a CD recording of key British, Czechoslovak, German and American radio broadcasts from 1938.”
Anyway, just thought the above might be of interest to others at the SWLing Post. I’d like to learn more from him on the role of radio in those early days on the events leading up to WWII. I’m probably going to check out his novel.
Thank you so much for sharing this John! I received an Amazon gift card and have already put Hear My Voice in the cart. I look forward to reading it!
Earlier this year the Czech Republic marked the 80th anniversary of the Munich Agreement, signed in September 1938 by the leaders of Germany, France, Great Britain, and Italy, resulting in the annexation of the Sudetenland by Nazi Germany. Radio Prague’s David Vaughan recently published a book in the UK titled “Hear My Voice”, most of which is set in Czechoslovakia in the months preceding the Munich agreement. Its narrator is an interpreter for the international press corps in Prague and he watches the events of 1938 unfold in Central Europe as the atmosphere is getting tenser ahead of the outbreak of the Second World War. Pavla Horáková spoke to David Vaughan and their conversation begins with a few paragraphs from the book.