D-Day: My Granddad Teddy’s Experience

69 years ago yesterday my granddad, Teddy Williams, took part in the D Day landings. A Guernsey man, he joined up in June 1940 with five of his colleagues from the Guernsey Press . They caught the Glen Tilt (it was ferrying men of fighting age to the mainland to sign up) to Weymouth , from where they were taken to Portland Barracks. My granddad joined the Cornwall Light Infantry, took the oath and received 3s and 6d.

By the time of the Normandy landing he had already seen action as a Desert Rat and the invasion of Siciliy. In fact, he nearly never made it to Normandy at all as the American naval vessel that was carrying him from Folkestone to Juno Beach was accidentally rammed by a British destroyer, HMS Warspite. They lost one of the ramps in the incident, meaning my granddad and his fellow troops had to scramble ashore as best they could. In haste my granddad jumped in to what he thought was shallow water but it actually came over his head.  He tried to swim up and couldn’t because of the weight of his kit. Then he felt a hand on his back and he was lifted up until he was able to find his footing and scramble up the beach. He never knew who helped him that day.

By this time, the troops in the first landing managed to fight their way up the beach and were penetrating inland. This gave my granddad and the other Pioneers the chance to establish petrol dumps ashore. The fuel was ferried by amphibious vehicles from vessels standing offshore.

Granddad and his unit landed on Juno Beach and were attached to Canadian troops who he followed through to Hamburg. Every night, Canadian trucks would travel to the front lines to recover the dead, and the bodies were brought to where the Pioneers had set up a moving base. The corpses were unloaded and the vehicles refuelled.

He later received a medal for being one of the thousands of troops engaged in the first 20 days of the invasion.

And how do I know such detailed information? Characteristically of those who served in the war, granddad never really spoke about it. In 2004 though, to mark the 60th Anniversary of D-Day, my granddad’s old employer, the Guernsey Press, wrote an article about him. He sent a copy to each of his daughters (my mum Ann and my auntie Barbara) and across the top he wrote “thought you might like to see this.” I am holding that paper in my hands now granddad and I just want to say a sincere thank you to you – and all of those involved on that day. You changed the world.

 

Prince William is preparing for Fatherhood with Commando Dad

BREAKING NEWS: Prince William has swelled the ranks and is using Commando Dad to help prepare him for fatherhood.

wills

Wow.

You can read the article from The Daily Mail here, and The Telegraph here.

 

It was always my intention to get this book into the hands of every new dad and dad to be. The fact that Prince William is using the book – and enjoying it – makes me very, very proud. I am also hopeful that it will help get the message out there to even more dads that there is a no nonsense,straighforward guide to all the practical skills you’ll need to be a great dad.

 

I hope Prince William knows that all of us Commando Dads are ready to give him back up support when he needs it – before or after the Royal deployment – he just needs to log on to the Commando Dad forum.

Eating horse meat? Why the long face? If you really want to know what’s in your food, you need to cook it yourself

The headlines here in the UK are dominated by stories of  horse meat ‘contaminating’ British meat products.  I have no real  problem with eating horse, in fact, now I know it is cheaper and apparently indistinguishable from beef, if anything, I want to eat MORE of it.

I think the real problem here is how little we know about what is in our processed foods. I may not have a problem eating horse, but do I want to eat a horse that was killed six months ago in a country far, far away? No I do not.

It is for that reason that, in general, I eat little or no processed foods. My family eats home cooked dinners most nights (and as my wife and I are both out working, this is mainly thanks to a bumper cooking session on a Sunday) and yet I spend less than almost any one I know for food. How? I think mainly because I try and eat what is in season where I can, buy (and cook) in bulk, eat cheaper ingredients where I can and where I can’t, make the most of the food I do buy. I never, ever,  cut corners on meat and buy all of it from my local butchers.

When I make burgers (which I do often, as the kids love them) I make extra and freeze what’s left. Then it is just as quick for me to cook as it would be if I’d bought frozen burgers. But I know every single ingredient that has gone into it. Have you ever stopped to see how many ingredients are in some processed foods (which is worrying enough, but when you can’t pronounce them, you know you’re really in trouble)?

Any way, I am aware that I am now running the risk of preaching. I’m not. But if I can cook home cooked food, any one can. And home cooked food tastes better, is better for you and your kids and in my experience is also cheaper.

Here’s a tried and tested burger recipe if you don’t have one already:

Burger Recipe  – makes about 10

  • Minced beef (2lbs)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1tsp Worcester sauce
  • a chopped onion if you like it (but chop it finely as it does make your burger fall apart when you’re cooking it)
  • any herbs you particularly like (start with teaspoons of dried herbs if you’re not sure how they will effect the end result, and a tablespoon of chopped fresh)
  • a tablespoon of mustard (if you like it)
  • beaten egg or some ripe avocado (as the purpose is to bind it together)
  • salt and pepper
  1. mix all the non meat ingredients together
  2. Add to the meat and mix it all together. The best way to do this is with your hands, and kids love this bit as it’s so squishy. Do make sure hands are clean before and after.
  3. Make into the size burgers that you would like (avoid making them too thick as it can make them difficult to cook through)
  4. Cling film the plate with the burgers on, put it in the fridge for at least half an hour
  5. If freezing,  I just wrap them individually with cling film. If not,
  6. Cook (I prefer grilling or baking)

 

 

 

Calling UK Dads to Be!! Fancy being in a BBC Documentary?

 

 

 

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dads being allowed in the delivery room, BBC three is  making a documentary series which will look at getting Dads involved in the pregnancy and birth of their first child: Dads in the Delivery Room. It is due to be on our screens next spring.

Filming has been going really well, and 10 couples have been filmed so far, but to complete the series, the Beeb need to find two dads-to-be for the final episode. Can you help?

You need to be:

  • awaiting the birth of your first baby trooper
  • keen as mustard to take advice from midwives about how to support your partner  - before, during and after the birth
  • have a partner that would welcome your support and is willing to take part

To find out more information, you can message me here or at neil@commandodad.com. Alternatively, you can contact the team directly:

Good Luck!

Men’s Fitness

I know it’s not very British to talk about your achievements (and to all non-British people reading this: that really is true) but I am so OVER THE MOON to be featured in this month’s Men’s Fitness magazine that I have reproduced the entire 22 line article here.

It’s all about fitting training around family commitments. As a stay at home dad who has trained for marathons, triathlons and other endurance events, this is something I know a LOT about.

Hooray!

Why won’t my daughter smile in photos?

My daughter Liberty has a beautiful smile. She smiles and laughs a lot. And yet something strange happens when you point a camera at her and actually ask her to smile.

You get either Exhibit A: The Aardman Character (or “More tea Gromit?”)

Image

Exhibit B: The Hitman  (or “I could smile but I may have to kill you”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or Exhibit C: The Bouncer (or “Your Name’s Not Down and You’re Not Coming In”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, I could go on.

 

Just to prove that she is actually a bobby dazzler, here’s the picture of her before I said ‘smile’. To see what happened when I did utter that word, see Exhibit A above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are there any keen photographers out there that can offer me some advice about how to get my little girl to smile at the camera?

 

Commando Dad to be deployed in Italy: Italian publisher Mondadori to release Commando Papà in 2013!

Mondadori logo

Commando Papà to hit the  Italian shops in 2013

 

Italian publishing giant Mondadori is going to publish an Italian language version of Commando Dad next year. Commando Papà.

 

Wow. I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to all the dads (and mums!) in the UK, Australia and New Zealand who have bought the book and made it such a success. I put a lot of time and effort into making Commando Dad the basic training manual that every new dad needs. But if you hadn’t bought it, I wouldn’t be on this adventure. Right, that’s quite enough emotion there!

 

And to the Italian dads, I’d like to say, remember the first rule of being a Commando Dad: un commando Papà è un mani sui Papà. I really hope that means ‘A Commando Dad is a hands on Dad’.

 

Over and out.

 

 

Olympians Must Begin at Home

After Team GBs fantastic showing at the Olympics, and as we gear up for the Paralympics, there has been a lot of talk about getting more sport on the curriculum. Hooray! I say – but with a caveat. I think we can’t only rely on the schools: Olympians must begin at home.

As a PE teacher (and now as a supply teacher) I see countless notes excusing pupils from PE. Now while some of these are genuine, I’ve been in situations where nearly half of the pupils in the class have been excused from my lesson. My personal low was a pupil that handed me a note explaining he couldn’t do PE as he had lost his trainers. He was wearing them. But without the rest of his kit, and without the jurisdiction to override a note from home, nothing could be done.

We need to address this issue now, or it really won’t matter how many more lessons in the curriculum are devoted to PE. Hopefully, pupils – and parents – will have been inspired by the Olympics and PE teachers up and down the land can get on with the business of teaching their subject and helping every pupil reach their potential in sport - not juggling a depleted class and non-participants.

And of course, participation in sport is not just about creating Olympians. Sport can give you so many benefits in both the short, and long, term.  Not only will it make troopers  physically fit, but also give them a sense of belonging,  teach them how to work well in a group and individually and hopefully also be a lot of fun. And the lessons that sport teaches you can help you in whatever career you troopers decide upon. Ray Winstone, a former boxer, said in a recent article in Men’s Fitness: “boxing helped me mentally. I’ve bought that discipline and determination to acting.”

With so many potential benefits, should we as parents be writing notes to excuse our troopers from PE for anything other than medical reasons? I, for one, don’t think so.