Welcome to WHO KNEW? A new feature focusing on life stories from our members and volunteers
Every single one of us has an original story to tell about something we’ve experienced. We welcome yours. The more of us who sign-up to tell our stories, the more connections we will forge, coincidences we’ll uncover, and stories worth preserving will be surfaced! Come on- sign up, share with all of us at Marin Villages. All you have to do is talk. We’ll come to you, or you come to us.
Project Manna A memoir from Peter Davis, Marin Villages Member since December 2018 (TPV)
[Peter recounted this story of an amazing WWII adventure at a TPV program in Cherie Sorokin’s home in March 2019.]
Peter grew up in England. During WWII, at the age of 15 he was trained in firefighting and survived the German blitz of London. A few years later at 18 he joined the Royal Airforce (RAF) to become tail gunner in one of the Lancaster bomber planes
His personal story was about a mission, Operation Manna which Winston Churchill authorized after contacting the Nazis generals who occupied Holland and making a deal with them to allow British planes to fly over Holland safely and drop food to the desperately starving Dutch people and even the German occupiers.
The mission was right before VE Day and by now after four long years of war, the German troops, who had deliberately flooded the agricultural fields of Holland, were also starving.
With tears in his 90 year old eyes, Peter Davis recounted the sight of the entire population of Rotterdam and then The Hague standing on rooftops, lining all the streets, cheering and waving at the planes flew very low and dropped desperately needed food. “Everyone crying for joy. Of course, it was also really scary to fly low and right over those German guns. None of us knew whether the pact to not fire on our planes would hold.”
Years later he discovered that it was the Dutch Resistance that initiated the secret pact between the German Generals and Churchill.
Even after sixty years, Peter still bemoaned the fact that he had lost track of the other men in his squadron. Once, many years later, Peter visited a museum on the land where his base had been located. He saw his own photo on the wall.
Excited about the possibility of meeting up with any of his old buddies in his squadron who might still be alive, he was given a name of one of the surviving airmen by the museum curator.
Peter reconnected, and although was unable to meet up with him in person, he reestablished a relationship with this man which continued for many years by email. “Nonetheless, I have never stopped missing the camaraderie I once had with the entire original crew.
There was a closeness there that just never could be replicated in the rest of my life.”Peter, now in his 90s, lives in Tiburon and is a member of the Tiburon Peninsula Village
Make sure you check out other "Who Knew ?" profiles at the links below: