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From the beginning, soldiers serving in the Armed Forces made up their own parodies to the tune of ‘Lili Marlene’
and perhaps the best-known of these parodies was created by British troops serving in Italy in 1944. This came about after the British politician lady Nancy Astor was reputed to have claimed many of the British troops serving in Italy had deliberately avoided taking part in the Normandy Landings on D-Day. it was generally believed that she first referred to the men of the 8th Army who were fighting in theItalian Campain as the "D-Day Dodgers" Whether she said it or not, Lady Astor was detested by the soldiers fighting in Italy, and their sarcastic reply to her statement came in the form of a song about their "easy" life in Italy, "The Ballad of the D-Day Dodgers."This song has also been attributed to Lance-Sergeant Harry Pynn of the Tank Rescue Section, 19 Army Fire Brigade. But who was this Lady?
Lady Nancy Astor was an American and she Married and Englishman Lord Astor. She took part to the policical life in England and she took up her seat in the House on 1 December 1919 as aTory Member of Parliament. As a result Lady Astor is the first woman to take her seat in Parliament. Astor's friendship with George Berbard Shaw helped her through some of her problems, although his own nonconformity caused friction between them.In a meeting, she asked Stalin directly why he had slaughtered so many Russians. She also told Joachim von Ribbentrop, the German Ambassador who later became the Foreign Minister of Germany, that Hitler looked too much like Charlie Chaplin to be taken seriously. She believed her party and her husband caused her retirement in 1945. As the Tories believed she had become a political liability in the final years of World War II, her husband said that if she ran for office again the family would not support her. She conceded but, according to contemporary reports, was both irritated and angry about this. Some dielogues between Lady asor and Willamrning." After 70 Years ss Prince Harry walked solemnly in the Commonwealth war cemetery at Monte Cassino, veterans of the campaign recounted their lingering anger at being unfairly-Pattison, aged 89, who served with The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders at Cassino and John Dudley, 89, from Chatham in Kent, who fought with the East Surrey Regt said to the descendant of Lady Astor that they didn’t have time to take offence – because they were fighting – but it didn’t seem fair, given that Italy was the biggest action until D-Day.”But Lord Astor insisted that the story was entirely apocryphal and that it was unfair to attribute the remarks to Lady Astor, his great-aunt. His answer was very clear “She had three sons and four nephews fighting in the war, including in Italy, so it seems very odd that she would say such a thing. The story just doesn’t make sense. My father, her nephew, was out here with the Household Cavalry. He was captured and spent nearly a year in a POW camp. My great aunt would hardly have accused him of being a D-Day Dodger.”. We are sure that Prince Harry’s two-day visit to Monte Cassino had finally given the veterans some of the recognition they deserved.
-When they call us D-Day Dodgers, which D-Day do they mean?-
I versi originali di questa canzone furono scritti dal Sergente Harry Pynn e furono racconti dal Maggiore Hamish Henderson della 51th Highland Division in risposta ad un commento fatto da Lady Nancy Astor della House of Common nel 1944. Essa accusò i soldati in Italia di aver "evitato il D-Day". Lady Astor era una americana emigrata in Inghilterra per seguire un inglese e si distinse nella sua vita per aver fatto molte opere caritatevoli ma anche per aver fatto molte brutte figure. Per esempio nel 1930 accompagnò George Bernard Shaw in Russia e creò molto imbarazzo allo scrittore quando chiese a Stalin" perchè avete fatto assassinare tutti quei Russi?". Altro esempio della sua totale incoscienza è un episodio raccontato spesso in cui disse a Von Rippentropp che "Hitler non avrebbe mai potuto essere un uomo politico "serio" vista la sua somiglianza con Charles Chaplin". Famosi sono i suoi strafalcioni ma la migliore tra le brutte figure si ebbe quando in un discorso pubblico disse letteralmente che i soldati della campagna d'Italia "erano persone che avevano evitato il D-Day" per restare tranquilli al sole in un luogo che non era stato assolutamente il teatro di guerra che si voleva far credere. Questa sua indelicata affermazione pesava come un masso su quegli stessi uomini che allora composero questa ballata sulla musica di Lili Marlene. Furono composte molte varianti di cui alcune assolutamente volgari ma tutte tendevano a sotolineare che la camagna d'Italia non era stata una vacanza e che la Astor era una grande ignorante. Nel 1945 il Visconte Astor stanco degli eccessi della moglie la costrise a ritirarsi a vita privata ed é toccato poi ad un suo discendene a 70anni di distanza dalla bataglia di Montecassino a dover rispondere ad alcuni veterani che hanno voluto chiergli spiegazione. Mattew Mackinnon di 89aa sostiene che è un offesa averla attribuita a sua nonna, quando nella sua famiglia molti giovani uomini in quei mesi erano impegnati essi stessi in Italia nelle varie battaglie. La presenza però di Herry alle cerimonie per i 70anni dalla liberazione di Monte Cassino testimoniano che l'Inghilterra ricorda quanti hanno combattuto qui e li celebra come eroi di guerra. tutto ciò basta a perdonare quelle parole!