Sunday, November 20, 2016

Context for Combined Ops: F. Gillard, BBC News

Frank Gillard, B.B.C. War Correspondent, WW2

Gillard speaking in the Netherlands in 1946
Photo Credit - Wikipedia

In a story posted earlier to this site (A Mediterranean Lighter Man by Bill Prout), we read that Mr. Prout was assigned, for a certain length of time, to assist Mr. Frank Gillard, a B.B.C. War Correspondent.

Shortly after Prout's assignment began, the ship they were on ran into rough seas. Prout writes:

....Soon we were steaming out of the harbour and as we came into the open sea it began to get quite rough. I guess Gillard didn't like this as I never saw him again during the whole trip. We sailed along very peacefully and finally we were off the toe of Italy and the Island of Sicily..... It was September 9th, about 7 p.m. and still light. Suddenly we had an announcement that Italy had surrendered. This had been broadcast from radio Algiers and everyone cheered as we thought the landing would be easier. As darkness came on we sailed on our way and up to now we had seen no action. Meanwhile the B.B.C. correspondent I was supposed to look after had recovered and was doing his job. I was put on an Oerliken ack-ack gun in the bows.

Bill Prout then goes on to tell more of his own story (link provided below). Mr. Gillard's work, however, received no further mention at that time, but there are undoubtedly several ways for readers to learn about his activities during WW2. I have listed a few items below, with links for those interested.

From Wikipedia:

He became a war correspondent attached to Southern Command and witnessed the Dieppe raid. In 1942 he went to North Africa to report on the campaign of the Eighth Army under Montgomery. He then reported on the Sicilian and Italian campaigns before returning to the UK ready for the D-day landings. He made memorable reports, often under fire, throughout this period, including eyewitness accounts of the Battle for Caen.

For more details please link to Gillard - Wikipedia

From WW2 People's War:

And whereas in the western desert there I was with one recording engineer, and that we were the BBC, when we landed in Normandy there were 32 of us, and we were with the airborne troops, we were with the infantry landing on the beaches, we were with the airforce during the bombardments, we were with the Navy and, what's more, we took ashore with us our recording equipment, and within a few days we had our own transmitters which we took around with us from that time onwards right across Europe.

For more details please link to Gillard - WW2 People's War

From the book War Report: The Extraordinary Eyewitness Accounts that Revolutionized Journalism one reads Gillard speak about his relationship with 'Monty':

Gillard was told by the Field Commander's assistant that 'Monty' would like Gillard to get him a puppy.
"But why me?" said Gillard.
He was told he could just mention it in his next broadcast, but Gillard knew he would then receive 1000s of puppies. So, he searched for one instead, and eventually "discovered a Frenchman with a Scotch terrier pup for sale."
Monty "instantly named him Hitler."

Excerpts from, and details about the book by D. Hawkins, including work by Gillard and other correspondents, can be found at War Report -Amazon.

Another possible link may be found at Archive British Radio Recordings 

Frank Gillard died on the 20th of October, 1998 (aged 89), London, UK

Mr. Gillard's Obituary is found in The Independent. 

Please link to Story: A Mediterranean Lighter Man

Unattributed Photos GH

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