The world paid tribute this week to the 75th anniversary of the historic landing in Normandy, a key moment in shaping the outcome of the World War II. A little-known fact, however, is that among the troops fighting on the French beaches and on the battlefield were at least two Anglo-Argentine soldiers.
Born on October 5, 1919 in the Sussex town of Haywards Heath, 53 kilometres south of London, Guy Napier Westley arrived in Argentina aboard the Highland Laddie when he was barely two years old, accompanying his father, civil engineer William Westley, on his new job on the Ferrocarril Central Argentino (FCCA) railway line.
The Anglo-Argentine followed the British family tradition of studying in England but in 1936 he returned, continuing as a member of the Buenos Aires Cricket and Rugby Club and devoting himself to farming, an activity he had learned at a church estate in Codford, according to the Wiltshire OPC Project.
After spending four years of his youth in Argentina, he returned to the United Kingdom and in 1940 he enlisted in the “Black Watch Territorial Army,” as one of the many AngloArgentines fighting in the Second World War. According to the data from the ABCC (the Argentine-British Community Council), a total of 237 people from the community of both sexes died in the conflict.
Following a year’s training, Westley joined the York & Lancaster Regiment (serial number: 180302) as a cadet, serving in the First Palestine Company where he was promoted to lieutenant. He was then transferred to the First Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment, serving in the Middle East, Sicily and North África before returning to the United Kingdom in November, 1943.
The Anglo-Argentine lieutenant was transferred to the support battalion for the Normandy landing of June 6, 1944 at Gold Beach between Omaha and Juno.
That day, fighting together with hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers in one of the most important combats in history, Westley was one of the many fallen before he reached 25.
The remains of the youngster were buried in the war cemetery of Ryes, seven kilometres to the southwest of the beach where he had died.
A similar case was Lennard Bentley, a member of the Royal Navy’s 30th Assault Unit, who was born in Buenos Aires in 1924 and studied at St.
Andrew’s Scots School in Olivos, the oldest English-language college in South America. The son of Frederic Robinson Bentley and Dorry Juliet Bentley, the 20-year-old also took part in the Normandy landing where he received numerous wounds from Luftwaffe bombardment which ended up causing his death on June 15.
His remains are buried at the Bayeux War Cemetery in France.
His name was one of so many
to whom tribute was paid in the
framework of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, key military
operation in the triumph of the
Allied troops over a Nazi Germany which had dominated
much of Europe.