Remembrance Day: Wartime Stories from care home residents

Published: Wednesday 10th November 2021

Remembering those who gave their lives for us in conflict is just as important now as it has ever been. For many of our care home residents, such as those at St Peter’s Park, our Bexhill care home, Remembrance Day recalls real memories from their own lives.

We mark this occasion, paying tribute to the fallen heroes of war with a 2-minute silence which is held at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, marking the end of the First World War. Further commemorative parades and events are held throughout the country and continue right up until Remembrance Sunday.

Remember, you can show your support by donning the poppy, an enduring symbol representing consolation, remembrance and death, as well as hope. These can be purchased from your local supermarket and the Royal British legion.

As a care worker you meet remarkable people

We have been so fortunate to meet some of society’s true heroes, who served during the war, with many ex-servicemen and women becoming clients of Agincare, which is a great honour.

Being able to listen to some of their wartime memories has been a truly fascinating, eye-opening experience and one of the reasons that make our jobs so rewarding, as Harry, a home care assistant explains:

I get to encounter many incredible, extraordinary people with amazing stories, and it’s an absolute privilege to care and look after them.”

Read more on Harry’s story.

Len’s Story

Len Oliver, a 92-year-old resident from St Peter’s Park in Bexhill, was happy to share his wartime experience with us.

At the age of 21, Len served in the RAF, where he was asked to carry out a top-secret mission, so classified that his family was not privy to know where and when this would be carried out.

The confidential mission took him from Helston in Cornwall, in a QL lorry, along with 5 other men to collect and transport 5 torpedoes to HMS Penzance. However, during the transportation of these incredibly dangerous weapons, a disaster happened along the way.

The torpedoes imploded inside the lorry causing horrific burns to Len and the 5 other men. Sulphuric acid had also splashed onto their faces and bodies, presenting a huge struggle to continue on.

Len, wanting to complete his mission, took the pain in his stride and decided to prioritise the other men first. He quickly decided to help one of the other men, who had been so badly burnt, he had to be thrown into a horse trough and his clothes had to be removed immediately to cool the effect.

The men required emergency treatment but were unfortunately turned away from the local hospital, and forced to return to an RAF hospital further afield, where treatment commenced.

Due to the importance of the mission and the extreme difficulties it presented, the men were rewarded with an invitation to attend one of the great garden parties at Buckingham Palace, where they received a commendation from Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips.

Here is another captivating wartime story from St Peter’s Park.

Daphne’s Story

Daphne, now aged 93, remembers vividly her encounter during the war.

When Daphne was just 5 years of age, her father took her to London to visit Alexander Palace. While they were there, they made their way to the top floor, where they caught sight of German planes bombing the city.

Daphne explained how she saw all of the planes flying over London and stated that:

“At the time I found it very exciting only being 5 years old. I wasn’t frightened at all.”

All of a sudden the English Spitfires appeared and started firing at the German planes. A couple of planes were hit and exploded right before her very eyes.

Her father thought it was of utter importance for the entire family to see the war through their own eyes, and understand what was truly happening.

This, along with other life experiences, has made Daphne into the strong and wonderful woman she turned out to be today. Daphne often reminisces about this time in her life, especially on Remembrance Day.

Being able to work with such incredible people is a real pleasure. Where else could you go to work and encounter such remarkable, real-life stories?

An extract from For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon

Do you have the heart to care?

Our care workers come from all walks of life with a range of backgrounds and life stories, but have one thing in common – the heart to care. What starts as a job with a stranger often grows into a strong bond of friendship between care worker and client.

There’s also the job satisfaction of making a very real and valuable difference to those cared for – an emotional reward that you can’t put a price on. The benefits of a career as a care worker with Agincare are rewarding too, including:

  • Flexible working patterns
  • Welcome bonus up to £500
  • Paid induction training
  • Fast track job offers
  • Room to grow, with our commitment to Continuous Professional Development
  • Opportunities to specialise in complex areas
  • National Health Discount Scheme, offering up to 60% discounts off high street names
  • Discounts offered by the Blue Light Card
  • Employee Assistance Programme with access to medical, financial and emotional support
  • Industry-leading support from regional care managers, specialist trainers, a dedicated welfare officer and a 24/7 office support team

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