Photograph of the Day – War Veteran

92 year old John McMillan Leishman, former Sergent in the 51st Highland Division, who fought in El Alamein, landed in Sicily, fought up through Italy and returned to England in 1944 thinking that was the end of his war. It wasn't as he came ashore at Sword beach on D-Day. He has just returned from the Dunkirk anniversary and intends to travel to Arnheim to remember two brothers and friends he knew that died there.

There has been alot of talk these last few days as regards the intentions and thoughts of “former combatants”. Regardless of the more recent conflict/war * it is because of men such as John and his generation, that we enjoy the democracy we do now.

*delete as applicable

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  • vanhelsing


    Great photo – these brave British soldiers [who came from BOTH sides of our religious divide] saved us from a fascist Nazi state which would not have allowed some of the ridiculous views we see here on Slugger to be aired:) We should all be thankful….

  • That’s one hardy boyo


  • Andy


  • willis


    What is the back story there?

    That man needs a half hour docco.

  • Here’s a related event tomorrow that might be of interest to some Sluggerites:

    “International School for Peace Studies will be laying wreaths at the grave of John Meeke MM with local dignitaries on Saturday 5th June at 11.15am at Derrykeighan as part of the Island of Ireland week.”

    Derrykeighan is a few miles south of Bushmills on the road from Ballymoney to Dervock to Bushmills.

  • John is originally from Scotland and married a girl from here though unusually for then, divorced her the year later and he’s been here ever since.
    All this gleaned from the 5 or so mins i was with him but i did think that his story warrants a wider audience too

  • A brave man, wearing his medals with pride. Respect indeed and heartfelt thanks…

  • Driftwood

    My Uncle (who I am named after) was with the 51st -4 KOSB- and killed in action near Arnhem.

    Maybe someone from BBC NI would speak with the guy, but sometimes they dont really want to. Cant be many left from that time.

  • I was taken aback when he told me his age and thought the same Driftwood that there aren’t too many survivors

  • The Allied war cemetery at Osterbeek (near Arnhem) is a very sobering place and contains over 1700 graves. 15 miles or so to the east just outside the German town of Kleve is an even larger Allied cemetery with 7500 graves.

  • We owe them our lives, and our very loud voices! I hope some of the so vociferous commenters on Slugger have the grace to acknowledge a debt owed…

  • Driftwood

    That’s the Reichswald Forest cemetary where my Uncle is buried. Difficult to get to, taxi from Eindhoven cost a fortune, but weird sense of tranquility within it.

  • jim

    we owe them our lives………………i dont owe the likes of him nothing catch yerself on.

  • jim

    And never was ‘lower case’ more deserved…

    You really have no idea who or what you come from – do you.

    You owe this man everything, from the freedom of your birth to the freedom of your expression.

    If you have nothing to offer do not bother.

  • I can imagine that the taxi was expensive! Nowadays you can fly from Stanstead to Weeze Airport which is only 20 minute drive from Kleve. I know the area quite well and its a perfect area if you want a quiet get-away-from-it-all break. The German war cemetery is on the eastern side of town in the direction of Kleve. Its also quite a sobering place.

  • elegant use of the double negative, jim.

  • jim

    i was born without permission so owe nobody nothing

  • jim

    Perhaps its a good thing someone like you is commenting on this thread. Perhaps you know that…

    I wonder do you know, or perhaps its a timely reminder, one of the first things the Nazis did is: burn the books.

    They, Burned. The. Books. Imagine what they would have done to you…

  • jim

    burnt the books wow.the brits took over our school as a billet.started reading the beano

  • jim

    Right, thats it. One day youre an outraged Dupper, the next youre …But at least youre not too drunk this time…

    Enough of you. Whatever else you are you are clearly a mindless little troll.

    Do not bother again.

  • Eire32

    Respect to these dudes.

  • sorry, eastern side of town in the direction of Nijmegen.

  • jim

    for wat

  • jim


  • joeCanuck

    Yes, we should. And the numbers are decreasing fast. The youngest “legal age” ones will be 83 now. Two of my uncles who fought and survived, died in the last 3 years. So if you know anyone, go and give him a salute before it’s too late.

  • joeCanuck

    I heard that jim’s personal book collection was destroyed in a fire. It was a real tragedy because both books were totally beyond repair and he hadn’tt even begun colouring one of them in.

  • So does that give you the right to be a bastard in your responses here?

  • Argosjohn

    The old geezer looks silly. So many medals but kids who do irish dancing have more. I watched a documentary this morning on the Anzacs. Their country (stolen from the locals) has one war memorial for every five Anzacs killed in World War One. What is it with Nazis they like memorials?

    Napoleon, incidentally, introduced this praactice of giving cannon fodder medals. He made some apposite quip about it at the time, something along the lines that morons like baubles.

    Ever see any of those World war 11 documentaries? The Germans, as foten as not, are weighed down by trinkets. And Hitler giving the Berlin babies medals just before the last Soviet onslaught.

    I would ask the Orangies to grow up but it ain’t gonna happen. Enjoy your illusions.

    The Irish are much more circumspect in this regard,. No memorials to horny Scottish occupation troops and the main Southern ones are leftovers from the Brits.

  • joe

    Cruel, true, but cruel..

  • The Raven

    Where did Orangies come into it? Would you be this rude to his face, by the way?

    What a silly question – of course you probably would.

  • jim

    there not even medals probably bought in nutts corner market

  • vanhelsing

    ‘the old geezer’ isn’t wearing his medals, that’s if you’d taken the time to look at the photo. Interesting you brought ‘orangies’ into the discussion where others were simply grateful to the men from all communities who fought and died to protect us from Fascism.

    As people reading this will no doubt conclude it says more about you than it does about the guy in the photo:)

  • bulmer

    Thank goodness for men like John so that twerps like jim are allowed to flourish!

  • Greenflag

    This old soldier would have been 26 at Alamein . He probably did some serious growing up during the war . Good for him he came through it all and survived -millions did’nt . I believe some 9 to 10 million ‘soldiers’ died and 4 times that number of civilians .

    We on these islands were probably lucky that Hitler decided to to play Wehrmacht Supremo after the Germans had broken through the French defences and by passed the Maginot line . Had he left the field decisions to his generals the British Army at Dunkirk would have spent the war in p.o.w camps and a British surrender might have been forced. .

    Good luck to the old soldier and lets hope he keeps going to collect the cheque from HMQ when he makes the centenary .

    Great photo ;)) mooch