All posts filed under: BEHIND THE STORY

D-Day: WWII Hero who Planned Normandy Landings at his Old School

General Bernard Law Montgomery was especially chuffed to be back in his old stomping grounds, St Paul’s School for boys in Hammersmith, west London, where he’d been a pupil from 1902 to 1906. The school had been commandered to serve as the headquarters of the 21 Army Group. What filled him with so much pleasure was that he was now ensconced in the High Master’s office with its distinct terracotta facade. From here he would go on to mastermind Operation Overlord which culminated in the D-Day Normandy landings on 6 June 1944. He lived across the road in Latymer Court where ‘A’ mess was established. Normandy Landings It was in the boardroom that the Allied commanders, led by General Dwight Eisenhower and Montgomery planned the invasion and liberation of German-occupied Europe, including the D-Day landings. King George VI and the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, visited them here to approve the plans on the 15th May 1944. Operation Overlord started on the beaches of Normandy, on the 6th June. Operation Neptune Codenamed ‘Operation Neptune’ and often …

At Grenfell Tower Silence is Golden

Grenfell Tower survivors, bereaved and their supporters have staged a peaceful and silent monthly procession around their west London neighbourhood since the tragedy that claimed 72 lives on 14 June 2017. In emotional scenes they continued the tradition with a silent march to a vigil in memory of the victims on the first anniversary of the tragedy. There were emotional scenes close to the base of the tower, as they held up pictures of those who perished in the inferno. Their quiet dignity seemed to have been mirrored across the country as the close-knit and ethnically diverse community held vigils, prayed, released doves and ate together. The Queen and her new granddaughter-in-law Meghan, on an official visit to Chester in northwest England, were among those who observed a national silence in honour of the victims at midday. The silence was also observed in the Houses of Parliament and in government buildings. It lasted 72 seconds, one for each of the 71 people who died on the night of the fire, and one for a woman who died in hospital …

Grenfell: Anatomy of a Catastrophe

Grenfell Tower residents should have been told to get out quickly rather than stay put in their flats as flames engulfed the building and killed 71 people, the public inquiry into the fire in west London almost a year ago has heard. The blaze, Britain’s deadliest on domestic premises since World War Two, shocked the nation and raised questions about the maintenance of its social housing, building regulations and fire safety protocols. The fire started just before 1 a.m. on 14 June 2017, in the kitchen of a flat on the fourth floor. It broke out of that apartment, ignited the cladding around the outside of the building, and reached the 23rd floor within half an hour. Expert reports released on the first day of oral hearings into the causes of the fire, pointed to a combustible external cladding installed during a 2012-2016 refurbishment as the main cause of the rapid spread of the fire. Residents who called the London Fire Brigade in the early stages were advised to stay put in their apartments, in …

‘Goodbye, We are now leaving this world, goodbye…’ Haunting Voices, Heartbreak and Horror from Grenfell

Goodbye, we are now leaving this world, goodbye. I hope I haven’t disappointed you. Goodbye to all.” A still of Mohamed Saber Nader appears on screen at the opening day of the Grenfell fire inquiry as a spine-chilling audio delivered in calm tones from his last phone call as fire tore through the 24-storey block in west London is played to survivors who broke down in tears.