Series 1 - Episode 4

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Former England cricket captain David Gower and radio presenter Sara Cox discover the wartime sacrifices and contributions made by their relatives.

David’s uncle, John Gower, was a naval commander, who during the war captained naval destroyers and took part in D-Day. His ship on that fateful day was HMS Swift, one he had beforehand steered through gruelling Arctic conditions. As part of the British naval operations on D-Day, his instructions were to bombard Sword Beach immediately before the landing of the British troops. John made it through the war, but he subsequently found it hard to come to terms with the loss of his younger brother Derek on D-Day - the circumstances about which David is keen to better understand.

Sara Cox, meanwhile, seeks to learn more about her grandfather Vince, who lived in the village of Little Lever in Lancashire, and about whom one of her earliest memories is marching alongside him and his friends on Remembrance Day. Sara remembers Vince's pride in his medals, but she never got round to asking him what he did to earn them. Her bid to find out takes her to a fort on the south coast, where she gets to grips with a World War II Bedford truck before heading to the mountains of Northern Italy, discovering that her granddad was truly one of the war's unsung heroes.

Next

  • Series 1 - Episode 5

    Dom Littlewood and Pamela Stephenson uncover the harrowing wartime experiences of their relatives.

    Available until 23:59 5 Jun 2014

Previous

  • Series 1 - Episode 3

    Helen Lederer traces the poignant story of her Czech grandfather, while Lord Paddy Ashdown explores the army history of his father.

    Available until 23:59 5 Jun 2014

  • Series 1 - Episode 2

    Former politician Ann Widdecombe and motoring journalist Quentin Willson retrace the footsteps of their families' war heroes.

    Available until 23:59 5 Jun 2014

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Comments (8)

  • Andrea

    over 1 year ago

    Andrea

    Hi Sarah, the ww2 research centre in Tuscany is located in Scarperia, 30km north of Florence. Information can be found either on the website www.goticatoscana.eu or www.museogotica.it.

  • Dominic webb

    over 1 year ago

    Dominic webb

    Hi sue my name is Dominic Webb my grandfather was petty officer Gilbert Webb . My grandfather was on the swift from when she was commissioned I am lucky enough that my grandfather who died 10 years ago wrote down his memories of the war. my grandfather joined the navy at 15 in 1933 and was well established on the navy when war broke out. I am lucky enough to still have grandmother who refuses to throw things out so she still has lots of photos from my grandfather during the war, I will have a look and see what photos she has . Please could you ask your father about my grandfather as he won his oak leaf for bravery when the swift was sunk . captain John gower put my grandfather up for a higher award but for some reason he was mentioned in dispatches instead . I look forward to your reply thanks dominic webb

  • Paula

    almost 2 years ago

    Paula

    My granddad, John Thomas Smith, served aboard the Swift during WW2 and was on it when it blew up - the result of which meant he spent the rest of the war in hospital. However I don't know what role he had on the ship. As he has now passed away, would anyone have any more info or remember him? He was only 18 when the ship blew up.

  • Sarah

    almost 2 years ago

    Sarah

    "Robbie: Could anyone tell me where the ww2 research centre in Tuscany is. I can't find anything about it. Thanks" http://lnx.goticatoscana.eu/en/

  • Gina Guyatt

    almost 2 years ago

    Gina Guyatt

    My father KWE Dearn was also on the Swift as a stoker. He was 87 last month. I would be grateful for any information/ photos etc, and is it possible to obtain a copy of the episode on DVD

  • Robbie

    almost 2 years ago

    Robbie

    Could anyone tell me where the ww2 research centre in Tuscany is. I can't find anything about it. Thanks

  • sue young

    almost 2 years ago

    sue young

    I would be interested in any further information you gathered re the swift. My father VJ young was a coder on the Swift .It is his 87 birthday next month and I would like to give him any info/photos etc you gathered if that is possible

  • sue young

    almost 2 years ago

    sue young

    I would be interested in any further information you gathered re the swift. My father VJ young was a coder on the Swift .It is his 87 birthday next month and I would like to give him any info/photos etc you gathered if that is possible

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