My memory’s playing up again

Dennis Healey:

He volunteered when war broke out and became a major in the Royal Engineers, serving in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. He was awarded a military MBE for service as beachmaster during the Anzio landings, and was mentioned in despatches.

I had in my mind, and have done for years, that it was an MC he got at Anzio. Oh well.

Giant of a man though.

13 thoughts on “My memory’s playing up again”

  1. I first learnt about the Anzio landings when sunning myself on the beach on holiday there with my brother; they were described as “difficult”.
    I also found out his personal role. As Tim says, what a giant of a man.

  2. “Tax the rich until the pips squeak”.

    Not my kind of giant but impressive eyebrows. We shall not see their like again.

  3. TMB

    The actual quote was

    “squeeze property speculators until the pips squeak”

    which makes a lot of sense.

  4. Coincidentally Healey’s Balliol contemporary Edward Heath was an adjutant on the Normandyy Beaches in 1944. And was also mentioned in dispatches and awarded a military MBE.

  5. Bloke in Costa Rica

    And from a previous generation let’s not forget Maj. Attlee. Last-but-one out of Suvla Bay etc.. Corbyn would be on the side of the Ottoman Empire.

  6. “Giant of a man”: only by the puny standards of the HoC, and the Labour Party. I’ll give him his due, though: he left the Communists when they allied themselves with Hitler.

    Which makes me wonder: did anyone leave the British Union of Fascists when Hitler allied himself with the communists?

  7. @The Stigler.

    Thanks for the corrrection.

    In that light, I wonder how it stuck in my mind as being a standard line from the Labour class hatred playbook?

  8. So Much For Subtlety

    Bloke in Costa Rica – “And from a previous generation let’s not forget Maj. Attlee. Last-but-one out of Suvla Bay etc.. Corbyn would be on the side of the Ottoman Empire.”

    Indeed. I can imagine our political leaders gathering at the Cenotaph at some point in their extreme old age, commiserating, reminiscing, boasting of their heroic exploits during the Boko Haram twitter campaign of 2014

    “It was hell, I tell you, hell. I need sprained both thumbs. And all I got for it was this useless DSO.”

    dearieme – “Which makes me wonder: did anyone leave the British Union of Fascists when Hitler allied himself with the communists?”

    Evelyn Waugh was not best pleased. Not as Fascist as such of course. However there must have been people in that community who agreed with him about the Pact but were more flexible on the whole burning the Riechstag thing.

  9. Tim, I’m with you on this – I had always thought it was an MC.
    Torygraph really ought to know though.
    shouldn’t it?

  10. Except that property speculators were, after tax consultants, the primary beneficiary of the 1974-9 Labour government, well ahead of the miners.

  11. There’s a lot of online confusion. But his House of Lords page says MBE. So I’d regard that as categorical.

  12. Military honours (as distinct from awards for gallantry) are normally for non-combat, which seems likely for a beachmaster.

    London Gazette is on-line for the whole of WWII, so you could just look it up there.

    And, indeed: https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/37386/supplement/6064

    shows:

    Major (temporary) Denis Winston HEALEY (181946),
    Corps of Royal Engineers (Keighley)

    You have to go back a few pages to see which award this (long) list relates to.

    “The KING has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following promotions in, and appointments to, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Italy: —”
    “To be Additional Members of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order:—”

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