Frederick Fletcher

'No different to any other day'

Frederick Fletcher talks about the first day of war.

'It's the real thing'

Frederick Fletcher talks about preparing for D-Day.

'The wrong idea of war'

Frederick Fletcher talks about misrepresentations in war films.

Not just 'doom and gloom'

Frederick Fletcher recalls an amusing incident from his time abroad.

Recollections of life as a Royal Marines Commando.

'More scared in the bombing'

Born in 1924, Frederick was living with his mother and father in Ealing when war broke out in 1939. In the early period of the war not much changed. It was not until the bombing started that Frederick realised 'how bad it was'. Frederick recalls how he 'was more scared in the bombing then I was on active service because you was trapped in a house.' As the family’s garden was too small, Frederick and his parents had to seek shelter in a surface shelter on the street.  

Becoming a Commando

Once turned 17, Frederick volunteered for the Navy. Initially stationed in Devon, he eventually became part of the Royal Marines Commando:

‘One day they said they’re forming a Commando, ‘everyone to volunteer’, and I volunteered, we all volunteered... It ’s been known or said that it was the hardest training in the world. It’s very tough. And so I'd become a commando.'

The invasion of Normandy

Following intense training, Frederick was eventually sent to take part in the invasion of Normandy in June 1944. Secrecy surrounded the operation:  

‘We were stationed on the Isle of Wight and were told to get our gear ready everything, bla-bla-bla. We was taken down to the water’s edge, some landing craft come from a ship to pick us up and I said to a sailor, ‘Bloody exercise’, he says, ‘It’s the real thing’. Because being on a ship he couldn’t get off and tell anyone so they were briefed. We weren’t briefed, we weren’t briefed till we got on the ship, where we were going and what’s gonna happen and that’s it.’

Comradeship and friendship

Frederick served with the Royal Marines Commando until the end of the war and finished up in Lubeck. Although he lost some close friends during the war, Frederick feels: 'It was the best stage of my life the war. Not the killing. Comradeship, friendship, you’d lose your life or risk your life for a friend.'

Downloads

'No different to any other day'
'No different to any other day' (71k)
Transcript of audio clip with Frederick Fletcher.

'It's the real thing'
'It's the real thing' (71k)
Transcript of audio clip with Frederick Fletcher.

'The wrong idea of war'
'The wrong idea of war' (87k)
Transcript of audio clip with Frederick Fletcher.

Not just 'doom and gloom'
Not just 'doom and gloom' (73k)
Transcript of audio clip with Frederick Fletcher.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 21/02/2012.

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