The feature Page

Victor Power
2nd Bn Lancashire Fusiliers

(Taken down by me on 25/7/17 in Victors own words.)
I was born 30 June 1919 at Traford Park Manchester. My father was Henry Stephen Power and my mother Lillian Power nee Hays. They were both from Birmingham. My father had fought with the Worcestershire Regiment in the
great war and was an " Old Contemptible" having enlisted at the start of the war in 1914.
I was educated at Traford Park Council School and left at the age of 14.

My first job was working for Metro Vickers as a blacksmith striker. I had always wanted to work in the carpentry trade but could not find a
job in that area so at age 17 I attended night school twice a week and two years later started work as a carpenter.
In 1939 at the outbreak of war I joined the Lancashire Fusiliers and after basic training at Bury was posted to the 2nd Bn who were part of the BEF in France. On joining the Bn I was posted to D company. My
company commander was Captain Paterson and my platoon Sgt was Sgt Bottomly.
By 28th May 1940 we were in Belgium fighting a rear guard action
against the advancing German army. In the confusion of battle myself and six other members of the platoon were separated from the rest of the
company. We knew we had to make our way to Dunkirk to be evacuated but Dunkirk was a long way off. As luck would have it we came by a house with a garage.There was a car in that garage with a key in the ignition.
I was the only one in the group who could drive so we decided to (borrow) the car and drive to Dunkirk. It was only a small car so most of the lads were hanging off the sides or on the roof. It must have been
a funny sight but at the time no one was laughing.
Before we got to the beaches we were flagged down by the MP's at a road block and I was told to puncture the fuel tank with my bayonet and smash the distributor. I then made my way to the beach and took shelter in the
sand dunes.
During the day we were attacked by German fighters and dive bombers.We hit back as best we could with rifle and LMG fire and one of the dive bombers must have been hit as we saw it crash into the sea.
Later that day during another dive bomber attack I was hit in the side by a bomb splinter. A young guardsman who I had been talking to a few minutes earlier was killed.
By this time I think it was about 4th June there were not many left on the beach and I joined a line of men waiting to be taken off in small boats. The boat took us out to a small RN ship. When I got on-board I fell asleep and the next I knew we had arrived in Dover.
On rejoining the Bn I was put into the motor bike platoon but as my wound was giving me trouble I was put on light duties and later posted to a searchlight unit. Owing to my wound I was demobbed in 1943.I still keep the bomb splinters removed from my side in a small plastic bag. It reminded me how lucky I was to have survived.
By 1951 we had two children and decided to move to Australia for a better life. In Australia I worked in the building and mining industry .
Sadly my dear wife passed away in 1975.I moved to Brisbane over 20 years ago where I retired. And that my
friend is my story.

Victor has been asked to do a Q and A session with a group of local school children. He has also been invited to visit Sydney in September to meet with the director of " Dunkirk"

July 30 2017
Brisbane Times
'The first time I fired at my enemy I was crying': Dunkirk veteran relives war

The 98-year-old man served six months in the war and was on the beaches as German troops advanced into France in 1940, trapping Allied forces on Dunkirk beach.

Dunkirk survivor Victor Power.

"I don't like war, I hated what I did," he said.

"To pick your rifle up and go 'bang' and shoot a man down, that is not normal.

"The first time I fired at my enemy I was crying."

The former rear guard said he was the one of the last soldiers to be picked up from the "noisy, hectic" French beach, the setting for Christopher Nolan's latest film Dunkirk.

"We had to fight the Germans, stop, move on and fight the Germans as they followed us," he said.

"By the time I got to the beach I was close to the time for pick-up because there was hardly anybody on the beach.

"The majority of them must have got away before I got there.

"Everything was moving, even the tide was moving."

The British-born man was at New Farm Cinemas on Sunday for a screening of the film and he admitted he wasn't a fan of previous films about the evacuation.

"I have seen two other pictures and I called them rubbish because it didn't depict anything I had been through," he said.

"I speak to you in truth so why can't I see a picture that tells the truth."

Wearing a tanned suit weighed down with medals, the New Farm local spoke of the hardship of adjusting to life after battle.

"I couldn't do any jobs, my conscience was telling me to give it away all the time," he said.

"I was in training to be a builder, that was before the war, but afterwards I went back and I didn't like it."

Mr Power got married while he was at war and in the 1950s brought his wife, son and daughter over to Australia, where he has lived ever since.

"I had seven days' leave, I got married," he said.

"Seven days went quickly, you didn't feel like you got married, then I went back, back in the uniform.

"Time goes so quick, I didn't think I was going to live this long ... this is all new, but I love it."

Victor's Ordre National de la Légion d’honneur

Spike Macey Victor Power and Bill Duffy