An Address read to the 3rd Recce Regiment at an official Reception by the Mayor and Parish Priest of St. Paul, near Flers, Normandy, 21 August 1944.
Officers and Men of the British Army,
I have been asked by the Civil Authorities, by the Parish Priest, a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, and by the whole population to welcome you to this small village. Our first feeling is one of gratitude and happiness. You can be sure it has been a rare joy for us all to see the British troops arrive and drive the Germans away before them. This minute is a very stirring one, chiefly for those, and I think they are many, who, in spite of everybody and everything, have remained the faithful friends of England and her allies. This gathering seems to be like the meeting of old friends in the open air and sunshine, on going out of a dark and damp dungeon.
For this ceremony no place could be fitter than this one. Here we stand near the grave of the valiant sons of this village who laid down their lives for their fatherland and the freedom of the world, side by side with the gallant British and American soldiers. How happy they must be to see that their own children, brothers and sisters, can breathe freely again.
For the last four years there have been many misunderstandings between our two nations. Of course the whole responsibility does not rest with you alone; we have had our own share of it, and it is a large one. But your sacrifices for the common cause, your present victories and the return of your armies on the French soil, open a new era of comradeship and good understanding. Though you are a peace-loving people, you wage a war to liberate France and Europe, and to secure the freedom of the whole world. We feel sure that before long the sons of Normandy and Brittany, as well as those of the rest of France, will be proud to join in this crusade, and, when they have been equipped with modern weapons, to fight with you for the final crushing of tyranny and the restoration of peace and freedom all over the world.
Welcome to you all!
Long Live England!
Long Live France!
Norman Scarfe, Introduction to Assault Division: A History of the 3rd Division from the Invasion of Normandy to the Invasion of Germany (Williams Collins, London, 1947).
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