Our employees stories
We've been speaking to our employees about their D-Day 75 connections this week about the difference their family made in the historic landings and the pride they have serving today’s Armed Forces. Hear from employees Dave Snowdon and Alan Dominey about their respective father’s roles in the D-Day landings.
1: A distinguished career
His father's distinguished service record is a source of tremendous pride for BAE Systems Project Manager Alan Dominey. Although he never talked in detail about it because of the Official Secrets Act, his father, Lieutenant Commander Arthur Dominey, was at Southwick House as part of the Admiralty Committee planning Operation Overlord.
My dad was a gunnery instructor and navigator of some considerable pedigree, I believe, as well as a Physical Training Instructor
Alan also has a picture of his father at Portsmouth Naval Base in around 1920. Along with his crew, he was welcomed ashore by King George V, just before receiving a commendation for the dangerous job of towing gunnery targets on an exercise area off Blackpool.
“My dad was a gunnery instructor and navigator of some considerable pedigree, I believe, as well as a Physical Training Instructor,” Alan said.
Alan’s connections with BAE Systems go back 40 years. He’s currently works at the Company’s Broad Oak site, where the team manufacture, assemble, test and integrate military weapons and electronic systems.
2: A proud history
His father, who was about 20 at the time, landed on Sword Beach on 6 June. He lost many of his comrades and rarely talked about his experiences.
“Many years later, when my daughter was about five, I remember him saying what a waste of life it was,” said Dave.
The only record he has of his father’s experiences is a typewritten note, together with the photograph which is now on display at Southsea’s D-Day Story museum. It was taken in Germany in 1945 and Private Snowden can be seen at the top left in the photograph above.
Dave has worked for BAE Systems for 27 years. He’s currently a Safety, Health and Environment Advisor for a number of infrastructure programmes around Portsmouth Naval Base, including work on preserving Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory.
Many years later, when my daughter was about five, I remember him saying what a waste of life it was
He has a proud military history. His paternal grandfather got a medal from King George V for his services to the dockyard, where he worked on the commissioning of HMS Hood, the last battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy.
His maternal grandfather was mentioned in despatches for his involvement with the Second World War Russian Convoys.
3: Prominent in his thoughts
BAE Systems Assistant Project Manager Lionel Spooner often thinks about the fallen in Britain’s two World Wars.
His Uncle Charles was killed shortly after the D-Day landings, in the fighting to take Caen. He was shot by a sniper. A Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment at the time, he was just 30 years old and left his wife and five-year-old daughter.
“He was my dad’s older brother and he’s buried at Banneville-la-Campagne War Cemetery,” said Lionel. “We’ve been to his grave twice and managed to take my dad across for the first time, shortly before he passed away a few years ago.
“My dad laid a wreath of the three Welsh feathers. He described the day as emotional and said he’d achieved closure. It was incredibly moving.”
There’s a strong military connection for Lionel. He served in the Royal Air Force as a weapons technician for 24 years before joining BAE Systems at RAF Coningsby in 2013, transferring to Portsmouth Naval Base two years ago.
He currently works for the Company’s Design Management Services team, providing engineering support to the Royal Navy fleet. His father was also in the RAF, another uncle was a Colonel in the Army and his grandfather was a cavalryman who fought in the Boer War and the Great War.
My dad laid a wreath of the three Welsh feathers. He described the day as emotional and said he’d achieved closure. It was incredibly moving.