My Friend Lenny

This was posted on a thread a couple of days ago. We thought as many people as possible should read it, so we decided to make it a post in it’s own right. Many thanks to John Mansfield for sharing.

“I’m banned from Britain First, but when I read some of these comments, my blood boiled, and I immediately created a new fake account, with the specific purpose of posting this. It’s a story I’ve posted on this page before several times. Regular followers may recognise it. To them, I beg your indulgence, but this sort of vile hatred gets my back right up. I have added a comment at the bottom just for the biffers.

When I first left school in 1975, I worked in the museum and art gallery in Liverpool. Most of the men who worked there were older than me. Many of them had fought in the second world war. There were stories to be told and fascinating memories to be shared. I developed a huge respect for these men and interest in their own stories. History is always more interesting when it is personal.

There was A, a man who had flown in Lancaster bombers over Germany night after night and survived despite coming close to death several times, seeing friends go down in flames, or simply not be there the following day. He had survived a crash-landing and had a steel plate in his skull. He was an alcoholic.

There was S, who had served in the navy on the Russian convoy run. He described seeing ships go down in the freezing water and being unable to stop to pick up any survivors. He remembered never wearing a life-jacket when manning his anti-aircraft gun, despite standing orders to do so, because it got in the way and would be a waste of time in water that was so cold he would last less than a minute anyway. I don’t remember ever seeing him smile.

Then there was Lenny. He was the most genial, easy-going man. Always had a cheery smile and greeting. He was always ready to help and the first to crack a joke. He was inoffensive, polite and a genuinely nice man. He had children and grandchildren who he worshipped, and ha always spoke of them with smiling eyes. He never, NEVER, EVER, lost his temper. Yes, he talked about the war as well. He had been a tank driver with The Guards Armoured Division.

Lenny told me funny stories. Like the time in Normandy when his commander had ordered an emergency fire mission to support some American infantry advancing across a neighbouring field. His tank was parked behind a large haystack and as the gunner aimed, Lenny stalled the tank on starting it. The flash from the gun set fire to the haystack, the burning hay covered the tank and they all had to bail out to extinguish the fire, then got a colossal bollocking for making the whole squadron look like idiots. He told me about driving through Antwerp during its liberation. “Never been kissed by so many girls in me life!” Someone gave him a cigar and lit it for him, then slapped him on the back. The cigar fell out of his mouth and down inside his overalls, setting fire to his underpants!

Those were Lenny’s memories. The funny, ‘Dad’s Army’ stuff.

Then, one day, some idiot was handing out some National Front literature in the canteen. He gave a leaflet to Lenny. Len stood up, glaring at the man. He said nothing for a few seconds, then screwed it up and threw it in the man’s face. He said, “you can take that filth and shove it up your f*^#ing arse!” Then he walked out. I had never heard Lenny swear before. Not so much as a “Bloody Hell” or even a “Damn”. I followed him. He was outside lighting up a cigarette, his hands shaking. I asked him if he was ok and he apologised to ME! He said, “Those fools don’t know what it means, or where it can lead”.

Later that day, when he had calmed down a bit, he told me another story. His unit had been one of the first into Belsen. He told me about the initial confusion, and being baffled by seeing people in striped pyjamas wandering by the roadside. He told me about the silent shock they all felt as they drove through the gates. He told me all about the heaps of bodies, about the dreadful, all-pervading smell, about the last German guards attempting vainly to hide the truth, about the huts full of dead, about the still living, who looked dead. He had volunteered to drive a bulldozer to bury the corpses. He did it breathing through a rag soaked in petrol, but it still didn’t mask the smell. He admitted to still not being able to sleep a whole night, without seeing it again.

The following day, he was back to normal. The genial comic, who always had something good to say and a smile for everyone. He had not an ounce of bitterness or hatred in him. He always saw the best in people and would do anything to help anyone, right up to the day he retired, which was the last time I saw him. He’s in his late 80s or early 90s now, if he’s still kicking. A lovely man.

I am a teacher now. Every Remembrance Day, I tell my students about Lenny and his stories, all of them.

He is the best example I know, of someone who has seen humanity at it’s very worst and yet, still spent the rest of his life trying to be one of the best.

He is still, and always will be, a hero to me.

TO ALL THE IDIOTS WHO ARE SAYING THAT YOU’D LIKE TO USE THIS EVIL PLACE AGAIN TO DO THE SAME THING TO MUSLIMS – WHEN YOU POST FILTH LIKE THIS YOU ARE SHITTING ALL OVER THE MEMORIES OF THE FINEST GENERATION OF PEOPLE THIS COUNTRY EVER PRODUCED. SHAME ON YOU!!!

image

People like Lenny, who fought the Nazis, the evil murderers who you seem to admire so much, ARE this country, I’d like to see you low-life scumbags just try to ‘take it back’ from them!!!!”
I fully expect this to be deleted from BF’s page within minutes, but I had to say something to these bottom-dwelling, ignorant Slimeballs”.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “My Friend Lenny

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s