- Mark Forsdike
An Unknown Pilgrim
I’ve still not yet cracked this one. For over twenty-five years now, my good chum Taff, has been trying to trace the identity of this 1 Suffolk D-Day veteran who started the craze during the crossing to Normandy on 5 June 1944 of having a Victory ‘V’ shaved in his head.
Taff first met him at Hillman in 1994 and he spotted that fellow ‘Khaki Chum’ Steve Maltby, was sporting the ‘V’. The craze had begun onboard ship during the journey across the channel and Major Boycott, commanding ‘B’ Company recalled in his memoirs of that day (written in 1947 when he was serving at the War Office) of how the craze caught on, but he noted that ‘women being as suspicious as they are’ might not approve should the invasion be postponed and they should have to return to England - at that stage of the journey, nobody knew that this was the ‘real thing’ and many still thought after a previous postponement that this was just another exercise.
Exhaustive searches by Taff over the years have drawn a blank and I can’t place his face either. We think the gentleman travelled to Normandy on his own with his family and was not part of the official party that travelled over in two coaches.
It’s a fair assumption that he was a member of ‘B’ Company as they all travelled over on the same ship together (on the “Empire Broadsword”) but he was clearly not (yet) an ardent regimental pilgrim as he doesn’t sport a beret, blazer badge or tie.
If his face seems familiar to you, please drop me a line and help us to solve this mystery once and for all.