Hector Duff, MM, BEM, TW, Leg.d’hon

Ian & Mary Stewart were recently honoured to be invited to the Isle of Man to share the 100th birthday celebrations of Hector Duff, MM, BEM, TW, Leg.d’hon. A Manx man and a highly respected veteran on the island. During WW2 he served with the 7th Armoured Division in 1942 at El Alamein where he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery, within 24 hours of his action on the battlefield. The invasion of Italy in 1943. His unit landed in Normandy on the afternoon of 6th June1944. They continued through France and Germany, and took part in the Victory Parade in Berlin. After the war he remained in Germany and was involved in the early work of the Nuremberg Trials.

On his return home he subsequently joined the IOM constabulary where he served for 30 years.

Hector regularly visits Primary & Senior schools on the island; as a result of this for many years the Spirit of Normandy Trust Young Historian Project receive a number of entries from the IOM. Ian and Mary were delighted to be able to visit Ramsey Grammar school taking several certificates for the entrants for the 2019 competition; Commended, Highly Commended and one Very Highly Commended for which a book token was also awarded. However, the main event on that day was for the school to mark this special birthday with the opening and dedication of the Hector Duff Study Centre , where Hector unveiled a stunning portrait of himself painted by a former pupil. He also cut a splendid birthday cake, the first of many during the following 2 weeks. It is Hector’s wish that next year there will be a Hector Duff Award for the Trust’s 2020YHProject specifically for an IOM school.

On the evening of his birthday the 15th October, more than a 100 invited guests attended a reception at Government House, hosted in Hector’s honour by the Lt Governor & Lady Gozney
It was a splendid occasion where Hector was also presented with The Soldiering On Award.
A TV interview can be accessed by clicking on the following link.
https://www.facebook.com/168385416842672/posts/1033682606979611?sfns=mo

In lieu of presents Hector kindly asked friends and family to donate to The Spirit of Normandy Trust. In addition to this the Isle of Man Post Office, who continue to support the SONT with royalties from their Normandy 75 Stamp and coin issues, generously donated a Normandy75 limited edition cover No 75 signed by Hector and a copy of his 100th birthday card produced by the PO and featured in one of the photographs. Anyone wishing to own these unique items may wish to make an offer via info@spiritofnormand.org.uk

It was Ian’s & Mary’s first visit to this fascinating and beautiful island , their welcome was quite overwhelming by so many including members of Hector’s family and friends. A privilege to share this momentous occasion for and with a very special man.

Hector Duff’s 100th birthday reception at Government House Onchan.

Return to Normandy 2020 Trip

We are now taking expressions of interest for our Return to Normandy 2020 trip. The SONT Normandy Pilgrimage will take place from the 4th to 8th June 2020.

We are aware that several other groups have decided not to travel next year, and as such we invite Veterans to give an expression of interest in travelling with the trust.

The trip will have drivers, a full medical and support team, and will be taking part in the commemoration at Colleville Montgomery, Bayeux and Arromanches

Places are limited and as such the expression of Interest does not guarantee a place on the trip. A Veteran plus carer will be funded.

If you are interested in further details then please email mark.sont1944@outlook.com or complete the following form:

https://sontreunion.formstack.com/forms/veteran2020

BBC Request

The BBC are wishing to interview for an archive film

1) A civilian who was actually called up to serve in the military 1939,; probably Territorial personnel, as they were more than likely the first to be “called up” when the National Service Act was passed in 1939

2) A Naval veteran who took part in the Battle of the Atlantic

If you are interested in assisting with this project or know someone who can. Please email info@spiritofnormandy.org.uk and we will put you in touch with the BBC researcher.