Granddads Swiss Army Knife.
Last month my grandfather gave me his Swiss Army Knife that he bought in 1939, an old white knife with blades so worn and well used , you could almost question it ever having been a knife.
Granddad started to tell me the story about the knife and the colourful and dramatic history behind it. He bought the knife to accompany him during the war, he felt that the knife had everything to see him through the war.
After all the troops had been evacuated from France in 1940, my grandfather and many others were still there trying to get out and save themselves from the shelling, my grandfather and his comrades were supposed to get onto the Lancastra which was bombed with 6000 troops on board, only 2000 troops survived. Left with very few options and chaos surrounding groups started to splinter and my grandfather and a few others went looking for boats to escape back to the UK shore, they finally found one and cut it free from its moorings using the knife, like many other small craft, it had been sabotaged and subsequently sank, my grandfathers jacket went down with the boat, the knife in the pocket, after getting back to shore and gaining cover for the night, he went back to the boat and retrieved the jacket and the knife and returned to shore once more in St Nazaire.
Shortly after, along with many others he made it onto the City Of Glasgow ship which had no food or water onboard, it took them 5 days to get back to Southampton, whilst most troops had evacuated Dunkirk on23rd of May, Granddad finally got out on the 17th of June.
On arriving home he was posted to India where he spent the rest of the war, using his knife daily as a means of opening cans, cutting ropes, sawing wood and hopefully opening a few bottles of wine too, he finally came home from the war in 1946 when Japan finally surrendered.
As a small child I remember watching him pack for his camping trips and the first thing that always went into the bags was the Swiss army knife that he saved and that served him so well throughout the war and beyond.
I am so thrilled to be given this knife and asked to pass it onto my son with the story of the adventure and it is wonderful to be able to share the story here.
I am very lucky to still have both my grandparents who are both 92 now and if I win and they are up to it, the trip is theirs, it is his story after all.