Yesterday I joined my brothers and father at a restaurant in Fulham for an occasional lunch with one of my father’s old school mates D (they first met at public school in the early 1940s) who has been a lifelong friend of the family. Some time ago D’s wife wisely begged leave not to attend these functions as all we ever talk about is school, sport and other ‘men’s stuff’.
As it happens, D’s father fought with distinction in WW1 and D himself had a stint in ‘special forces’ behind enemy lines towards the end of WW2, though he doesn’t talk about it much.
During our conversation at the table yesterday he mentioned that – at the age of 91 – he is now one of only two surviving wartime contemporaries and that, generally speaking, he is a reluctant attendee at the regular forces reunions to which he is invited (“Sometimes over 100 people turn up and I know only one or two of them”).
I can sympathise with his point of view.
By chance I’d recently seen an article upon Major Anders Lassen, a Dane who fought with British special forces (the Special Boat Squadron) in WW2. He won three Military Crosses and then a posthumous VC at the age of 24, so I asked D if he’d heard of him.
D replied in the affirmative. He had once met Lassen at a training camp for a number of ‘special forces’ units in 1943 or 1944. He didn’t know him at all well, but he added that at one lunch he’d sat at a neighbouring table [motioning to a table about ten feet from ours as he did so].
For information, here’s a link to the Wikipedia entry of the Danish war hero – ANDERS LASSEN