Warfare in News
Posted on Tuesday 7th February
Joe Ekins was a typical British soldier of the Second World War. A Northamptonshire shoemaker, he was basically a civilian in uniform with a healthy disdain for authority and privilege, combined with a total disdain for the values and extremism of his enemy. He was certainly a reluctant soldier although he had no compunction about volunteering for service, he saw his war very much in terms of good versus evil.
Joe was not one to re-live the past. For many years his amazing exploits during those famous 12 minutes in Normandy in 1944 were hardly the topic of conversation.
However in recent years, as military history became more popular many historians and others have beaten a path to his modest door in Rushden. At last Joe was prepared to tell his story, but never for glory and never for fame.
The film Wittmann Vs Ekins goes some way to proving Joe’s part in the death of Wittmann, but to the man himself the question was irrelevant and the answer not worth considering. This British soldier just wanted to get the thing over and done with and get home to what he loved and fought for.
After the action on the Normandy beaches, Joe was made a radio operator for the rest of the war.
Taking it Further
Wittmann Vs Ekins DVD(DVD)
by Tom Dormer
The story of two men destined to face each other on the battlefields of Normandy is told in this programme. Michael Wittmann was a knight of the Nazi empire, a natural and accomplished soldier and highly decorated. Like Wittmann, Trooper Joe Ekins, a shoemaker from Northamptonshire, was a volunteer for military service but there the similarities ended. Joe was a reluctant soldier in a county yeomanry armoured regiment, while Wittmann served in the Waffen SS's… Read more...
Of further interest...
Dambuster Crash Sites - The Men Who Didn't Come HomeFri 17th May
Chris Ward and Andreas Wachtel describe the crash sites of some of the men who took part in the Dambuster Raid and did not return. Read article...
Dambuster - George 'Johnny' JohnsonThu 9th May
Authors Colin Higgs and Bruce Vigar present the story of Pilot Officer George Johnson's experience of the Dambuster Raid, in his own words. Read article...
The Men Who Breached the DamsThu 9th May
Alan W Cooper looks back on the night of the attack on the Ruhr Valley Dams by 617 'Dambuster' Squadron on 16/17 May 1943. Read article...