In his father’s steps

12 June 2014 | by D.J. Taylor


Ten years ago, BBC Radio 4 marked the sixtieth anniversary of the Normandy landings by commissioning a Frank Cottrell Boyce monologue in which a soldier in small-hours transit – played by Christopher Eccleston – reflected on the task that awaited him come dawn. A decade later (6 June), we were treated to a series of ­excerpts from the trips to Normandy (and elsewhere) that Paddy O’Connell had taken with his father’s old comrades from 47 Royal Marine Commando. It is no disrespect to Messrs Cottrell Boyce and Eccleston to say that real-life reminiscence won out every time.O’Connell senior had died long years ago, leaving his son with no real knowledge of what his father’s unit had accomplished in the hours after their disembarkation. Pieced together,

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