Volume 57, Number 6, June 2019
Look to the future, acknowledge the past IT was my intention to write this month about D-Day and the 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord; whilst this magazine goes on sale before the anniversary itself, it is safe to assume that on June 6, across Normandy and beyond, hundreds of thousands of people will pay tribute to the men who took part in the largest invasion in history. We had our own ceremony down here in Exeter in May (see page 7 in “News and Views”) and there have been (and will be) numerous similar ceremonies and services up and down the country in the coming weeks. That we are still remembering those who took part in the liberation of Europe 75 years on is important, just as it is important that we remember those who fought and died in other, earlier, wars, even though none of them are with us any longer and that we acknowledge the part played by those who have fought more recently. We look back at such events as D-Day, as well as look forward to the future, because we recognise that we would not be where we are today, would not be able to move towards that future, were it not for those who went before. That is why we stand at memorials, at gravesides, on beaches and at bridges—to remember and to acknowledge. We don’t always remember the individual men, time has marched on, the years have ntervened and many of those who fought for our freedom no longer have anyone left alive who knew them. Unless they are a “name” like John Howard, Lord Lovat or Stanley Hollis, they are remembered simply through photographs, letters and medals, but what they achieved lives on, the impact they had on the lives of others lives on and whilst it does they are never really gone. I said that my intention was to write about D-Day but sadly circumstances have rather overtaken me and I feel I need to divert slightly and write not just about those who fought 75 years ago but also about those closer to home who deserve to be acknowledged too. In this month’s “News and Views” we, very sadly, record the deaths of John Hayward, Michael Maton and Jim Bullock. John and Jim will have been known to many of our readers as they were both active on the medal scene until quite recently; Michael, because of geography (he lived in Australia) would have been known to fewer, but his work and the impact he has had on our hobby through his numerous works cannot be understated. Tragically the “Old Guard” of the medal world are slowly leaving us, but they have every much a right to be remembered as the men whose medals we now hold in our collections; and whilst I am not trying to compare the genteel hobby of medal collecting to a war zone, I hope you will agree that the principle of remembrance is the same. John, Jim and Michael deserve to be remembered and acknowledged because of what they gave us, and gave the hobby. Those who knew Jim Bullock will, I am sure, agree that he was one of the nicest men you were ever likely to meet. It was always a pleasure doing business with him and he was an absolute gentleman, of whom many of us will have very fond memories. John Hayward was a true giant of the hobby (in every sense, he was not a small man!), devoting his life to medals and doing whatever he could to help collectors further their knowledge; his books will be found on just about every collector’s shelves. Always ready to help, advise and teach he had forgotten more about medals than most of us will ever know and his expertise will be greatly missed. Michael Maton too had a great desire to get information ”out there”, to help collectors with their research and studies, and, as with John’s books, his numerous works are to be found on the shelves of collectors across the globe. It is safe to say that his “Honour…” series alone has saved countless hours of research time for many of us. Each of these men, in his own way, have helped to make our hobby what it is today and have laid the ground work for its future. Their legacy is not the same as that of those who we will remember on June 6 this year, of course it isn’t, but it is a legacy nonetheless and one which every medal collector should be thankful for and acknowledge, when it is appropriate to do so of course. RIP gentlemen.
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