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Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Richard Winters (1918-2011)

I'm wondering whether or not to add Richard Winters military rank of Major to the title but that would define him by a relatively short period of his life, and while its for his military exploits that hes remebered I get the idea from the various obit bits knocking around that that would be a less than fair assessment of the man.

He was one of the talking heads that appeared at the end of the HBO series Band of Brothers - old guys with lined faces and eyes sharp with memory, guys who had lived for real the experiences portrayed in the programme. Dropping over Normandy, sheltering in foxholes in the Ardennes, discovering the dark heart of the Nazi regime and then when it was all over picking up the pieces and getting on with their lives afterwards, no idea of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, no counselling - just back to a world made foreign by blood and fear.

Of course much has been written of an exlempory military service, the assualt on an artillery battery portrayed in the series, the Brecourt Manor assault is a text book example of an attack on a fixed position but I think what shines through for me was his care for those under his command, his humanity under combat conditions with orders that needed to be carried out the welfare of his men was all important, the fact that he never asked a soldier to do something thyat he wouldnt do himself.
I hope he rests easy.

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