COLUMNIST: Dozy’s Rambles on Dunkirk and regional government

The Dunkirk Medal
The Dunkirk Medal

I HAVE the British Army close to my heart for many reasons, especially at this time of the year, and, of course, with 2015 being yet another milestone in British history.

My mind goes back 75 years to Dunkirk and the amazing evacuation of troops from the French beaches.

The Operation Overlord Medal was issued on the 50th anniversary of the liberation

The Operation Overlord Medal was issued on the 50th anniversary of the liberation

My father was badly wounded on the beach and had to be evacuated on a net that was slung across the side of a ship. As soon as his wounds healed, instead of being put out to pastures green, he wanted to continue fighting (against medical advice).

He was unable to rejoin his regiment (The Middlesex) so joined up with the tough Highland Regiment. During his time of service, he saw action in Africa, Germany, Italy and, of course, France, where he was wounded for the second time! This time, just as the war ended.

He wasn’t discharged from the army or hospital until 1946 and had ongoing treatment for the removal of shrapnel up to the end of the 1950s, with the actual final piece being removed in the late 1970s.

My father, together with many others from the Dunkirk Veterans Association, was honoured about 20 years ago by the French government with medals and certificates for the part they played in fighting for the freedom of others. I am delighted that I have in my possession the Dunkirk Medal, together with the Operation Overlord Medal that was given to the Normandy Veterans Association.

To this day, I am very proud of the very small part that my father played during the war, it was what being British was all about.

I would like to add yet again that it is not too late for Adur District Council to honour Shoreham-born soldier Lance Corporal James Brynin of the Intelligence Corps, who was killed in action in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on Tuesday, October 15, 2013. As I have previously suggested, the new civic centre should have some sort of tribute to him. James Brynin is the only local soldier to have lost his life in action since the Second World War.

Here’s a first for me, hearty congratulations to Daniel Yates for being elected as a Labour councillor on Brighton and Hove City Council.

He has already been made chairman of the health and wellbeing board. Daniel has worked in the health sector most of his working life so is an ideal choice for the post.

My main reason for mentioning Dan is that he was the leader of the Labour group on Adur council for many years. He also stood as Labour party candidate in the general election twice against Tim Loughton.

During his time on Adur Council, he certainly made his mark. He was an excellent opposition leader, plus there was never a dull moment when he spoke, which was often. I am sure that Brighton and Hove Council will now have some pretty fiery (and long) meetings with Cllr Yates in the chamber.

For those who believe the hype regarding PR (proportional representation), please do not believe it. The system we have in the UK (first past the post) is without a doubt the fairest.

First past the post means that a candidate is elected by the local population, you get whom you voted for. Under PR, it’s a party choice. You can vote for someone locally but, say for example someone in Portsmouth has a higher vote (from a different party), then the Portsmouth person is the one who gets to represent you. I have given a very simple explanation to a very complex situation, but I hope you understand?

So, West Sussex County Council wants to get rid of local authorities and bring in a unitary authority. In other words, they want regional government, under its control.

If you look at the gigantic muck ups and waste of money the county council has been responsible for over the past years, then we would be heading for disaster.

I have no problem with ‘unitary’. My suggestion would be to break away from West Sussex and to join up officially with Worthing and then bring in say Arun to create a stronger authority, which would match Brighton and Hove and give us locals a far better say on schools, highways, etc.