Normandy Veterans

The veterans are listed in alphabetical order, by Christian name. Click on an individual image to see a larger photograph and some information about that particular veteran.

  • Albert Dillow
    Albert Dillow joined the Army in 1943. He served with 7th Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery (part of 5th AGRA, Army Group Royal Artillery). He was part of a small party that landed in Normandy slightly later than the rest of the unit, coming ashore early on 7 June. The regiment spent five weeks at the village of Condé sur Seulles, firing 2,000 tons of ammunition to support the fighting in the area. In August the unit supported 7th Armoured Division in its advance southwards to encircle the German forces in Normandy in the Falaise Pocket. He was 19 years old.
  • Alan Greenfield
    Having joined the army in 1942, Alan Greenfield served in 7th Armoured Division. In 1944 he was aged 19. His unit landed at Gold Beach one day after D-Day, while the beach was still under shell fire, and operated in the Bayeux area. About eight weeks later he was wounded by German shellfire.
  • Alan McQuillin
    Alan McQuillin volunteered for what was described as “special RAF units, that could be dangerous”. He was an armourer with 3210 Servicing Commando of the Royal Air Force. This was one of a number of mobile units of RAF tradesmen that operated airfields built in Normandy after D-Day. His unit operated at airfield B3 at St Croix from 10 June 1944 onwards, refuelling and rearming Allied aircraft that landed there. His 21st birthday was on the day before D-Day.
  • Albert Sponheimer
    Albert Sponheimer joined the US armed forces in 1943. On D-Day, he was an 19-year old private first class, and landed at Omaha Beach. He was serving with 197th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion (Self-Propelled).
  • Alan Mellor
    Alan Mellor was an able seaman on board LST 238 (a Landing Ship, Tank). The LST was built in the USA, and the crew collected her from there in 1943. His particular job was to open and shut the bow doors during loading and unloading. On D-Day the LST landed Canadians of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles on Juno Beach. They subsequently made many trips back across the English Channel. On one occasion they carried a large number of casualties, and the crew went 36 hours without sleep, being either on watch or looking after the wounded. Later the LST took part in the liberation of the Channel Islands.
  • Arthur Ayshford
    Arthur Ayshford joined the army in March 1941. By D-Day he was a 23-year old Lance-Bombardier with 76th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. His unit was equipped with Priest self-propelled guns. They fired their 105mm howitzers from landing craft offshore, in support of troops landing on Sword Beach on D-Day.
  • Arthur Bailey
    Arthur Bailey was an 18-year old private with 49th (West Riding) Division, and landed on Gold Beach. He joined the army in October 1942.
  • Arthur Maynard
    Arthur Maynard joined the army in 1942, and served in the Pioneer Corps. He arrived in Normandy four days after D-Day, and worked on PLUTO, the “Pipeline Under the Ocean”. Once operating, this enabled fuel to be pumped in a pipeline from the UK across the English Channel and to the Allied forces on the continent.
  • Arthur Sullivan
    Arthur Sullivan served in the Pioneer Corps. He landed at Arromanches on Gold Beach after D-Day. He remembers that his unit adopted a small dog as a pet in Normandy, which stayed with them almost to the end of the war, when it disappeared in some woods.
  • Barbara Christopher
    In 1943 Barbara Christopher joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, or ATS (the Army’s women’s service). At the time of D-Day she was an 18-year old private, working in the underground headquarters beneath Fort Southwick. She was a teleprinter operator, manning the machines used for communicating with the Allied forces landing in Normandy. At the time of D-Day she was aware that something significant was going on, but as the messages she received were all in code she could not learn anything from them. She was on duty on the night of 5-6 June 1944.
  • Bill Ryan
    On D-Day, Bill Ryan was an 18-year old private. He landed on Omaha Beach with 16th Infantry Regiment, US 1st Infantry Division. He was wounded when his landing craft was hit during the landings. Knocked unconscious, his life was saved because two comrades dragged him onto the shore. He lay there throughout D-Day, watching the landings take place, until he and other wounded were evacuated. He later served in Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge, as well as Korea and Vietnam.
  • Bill Walker
    Bill Walker’s army service lasted from 1942 to 1947. He was the driver of a Crusader tank, and landed in Normandy seven days after D-Day. Two of his crew were killed, and the remainder injured.
  • Bob Drury
    Bob (Paddy) Drury was a sergeant in the Royal Marines. As a Sub-Division Leader, he was in charge of a group of three small landing craft (LCAs, or “Landing Craft, Assault”) which were attached to the mothership Empire Arquebus. The night before D-Day, he lost all his money in games of Crown and Anchor with the Canadians, except for two pennies (which he still has!). None of them cared who won the games, as they were all preoccupied with the next day’s events and knew that not all would survive. On D-Day his craft landed Canadian troops on Juno Beach in rough seas. He was wounded in the chest by shrapnel three days after D-Day. He lost all his personal effects and spent five months recuperating in a hospital at Sheffield.
  • Bob Feasey
    Bob Feasey was a member of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, attached to 34th Independent Tank Brigade. His unit landed at Arromanches four days after D-Day. He worked on Churchill Crocodile tanks, which were equipped with flame-throwing armament. He found the crossing to be particularly bad, due to the rough seas.
  • Charles Jackson
    Charles Jackson had joined the army in 1936, as a boy soldier in the Rifle Brigade. Normandy was his second “D-Day”, as he had already taken part in the landings on Sicily on 10 July 1943, where he was wounded. By D-Day he was a 23-year old lieutenant with 1st Battalion, The Hampshire Regiment, one of the first units to land on and capture Gold Beach on D-Day. On 19 June 1944 he was taken prisoner by the Germans, and spent the rest of the war in captivity. From D-Day he remembers the noise, the smell, and the sight of dead bodies floating in the water.
  • Colin Green
    Colin Green was an able seaman gunner operating a 20mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft gun on board SS Clan Lamont, which was a ‘mother ship’ for eighteen small landing craft. These craft landed Canadian troops at Juno Beach on the morning of D-Day, ferrying them from the Clan Lamont which stayed about seven miles out to sea. He served on three other trips to Normandy, bringing additional Allied forces there.
  • Cyril Askew
    Cyril Askew joined the army in 1935 as a regular soldier with the Kings’ Regiment. At the start of the Second World War he was serving in India with 1st Battalion, The King’s Regiment, on the North West Frontier. He later served in Ireland. He landed on Sword Beach with 5th Kings three days after D-Day. His unit later relieved the Commandos at Pegasus Bridge, and was involved in the fighting around Caen.
  • Cyril Dewire
    Cyril Dewire was an 18 year old private with the Somerset Light Infantry, part of the 43rd Division. He landed at Sword Beach on 7 June, and particularly remembers the noise of battle and being sea-sick. He was in an advance platoon for the rest of his unit, which landed on 23 June. He took part in the heavy fighting at Hill 112.
  • Denis Hosgood
    Denis Hosgood joined the army six weeks after his seventeenth birthday, in June 1943. On D-Day itself he was in Northern Ireland, and had just finished training at Battle School. He landed in Normandy at the start of August 1944 as part of reinforcements for the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, part of 51st (Highland) Division. He was wounded in February 1945, and was repatriated to the UK, later finishing his wartime service with the army of occupation in Japan.
  • Derrick Tysoe
    Derrick Tysoe served with the 8th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry (part of 50th Division). He was a 19-year old private, and landed on Gold Beach on D-Day. He was later awarded the Legion d’Honneur by the French government for his work with the national council of the Normandy Veterans Association.
  • Deryck Fairhurst
    Deryck Fairhurst had been serving since January 1943. He landed at Gold Beach in Normandy a week after D-Day with a Guards unit, and was then aged 19. His unit then took up position around Bayeux.
  • Dorothy Rayner
    Dorothy Rayner joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) at just over 17 years of age, in October 1942. During the war she served at a variety of RAF bases. At the time of D-Day she was working on the administration staff at the radar station at RAF Pen Olver, at Lizard Point in Cornwall. She was off duty on D-Day, and from top of the cliffs she could see that the sea was covered for miles around with huge numbers of Allied ships – a sight she will never forget.
  • Doug Botting
    Doug Botting landed on Juno Beach early on D-Day with 5th Royal Berkshires. He was then aged 18. He came ashore in water that came up to his chest, and realised that he was standing on dead bodies that were beneath the water, while other bodies floated nearby. The landing craft to the left of his hit a mine during the landings. His unit was part of 8th Beach Group, and mainly operated in the area of the beaches. In November he was wounded by four bullets while serving with 5th Wiltshires at Tripsrath in Germany.
  • Douglas Crabb
    Douglas Crabb (nicknamed “Buster”, as was common with people with his surname) volunteered at age 17, joining HMS Collingwood six months later in February 1943. On D-Day he was an able seaman on board LCT 786 (a Landing Craft, Tank), and was 18 years old. The vessel loaded light armoured vehicles and other troops at Hardway in Gosport, which several days later they landed on Sword Beach early on D-Day. He was a gunner on an Oerlikon anti-aircraft gun on board the LCT. He did not talk to anyone about his experiences on D-Day until 2009.
  • Douglas Turtle
    Douglas Turtle was a 21-year old Royal Navy petty officer on D-Day, commanding landing craft that landed the US Rangers at Pointe du Hoc on Omaha Beach. The Rangers then captured the gun battery on top of the headland by climbing the cliffs under fire from the German defenders. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal twice.
  • Dudley Roessler
    Dudley Roessler volunteered for the Royal Navy in October 1942. On D-Day he was a 20-year old Sub Lieutenant, and second-in-command of LCT(R) 337. This vessel was a Landing Craft, Tank (Rocket), equipped with around 1,000 rockets. Ten minutes before D-Day these rockets were fired in salvos at Juno Beach before Allied troops landed, to damage shore defences and set off any mines. Firing the rockets made the craft’s deck so hot that it could not be walked on for half an hour, even though it was being cooled with water. Fourteen misfired rockets were then discovered, which were removed and thrown over the side.
  • Eddie Wallace
    A fireman in Portsmouth during the Blitz, in 1944 Eddie Wallace was serving with 86th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Honourable Artillery Company. He landed on D-Day at Juno Beach, in support of the Canadians. The unit was equipped with 3.7 inch anti-aircraft guns. He served from the Battle of Normandy to the end of the war in Europe.
  • Edward Thompson
    Edward Thompson joined the army in 1942 and became a wireless instructor with the Royal Armoured Corps. Later he transferred as a wireless operator in 53rd (Welsh) Division. He landed in Normandy around 21 June, after waiting at sea for five days until a major storm had ended. The division took part in the fierce fighting at the River Orne crossings, and the infamous Hill 112. At the end of the war, he had reached the Baltic.
  • Edward Wray
    In 1944, Edward Wray was a soldier in the Royal Engineers. He had enlisted in 14th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment in 1940. His service in the UK over the next four years included working on building replica German beach obstacles at Orford in Suffolk and in Wales, and building embarkation hards at Stokes Bay in Hampshire with 760 Artisan Works Company, Royal Engineers. He transferred to 53rd Electrical and Mechanical section, attached 230 Field Park Company at Arborfield, and embarked for D-Day at Beach Street, Gosport. He served in Normandy, mainly installing water supply points.
  • Edwin Wyatt
    On D-Day, Edwin Wyatt was a 20-year old lieutenant with the Durham Light Infantry. He landed on Gold Beach several days after D-Day. His unit was in support of the 147th Brigade.
  • Eric Hooker
    Eric Hooker enlisted in April 1939 and served throughout the war with a Portsmouth unit of the Territorial Army, 59th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery. In 1944 the unit was part of 43rd (Wessex) Division, and landed in Normandy several days after D-Day, delayed by bad weather. He was a wireless operator/gunner.
  • Eric Lockley
    Eric Lockley was a Royal Marine lance corporal on Juno Beach on D-Day. He was part of a beach unit that was directing troops as they landed. He remembers the Royal Navy captain in charge of the beach area, who had his dog with him and who insisted on being saluted. He had joined the Royal Marines in November 1941. Mr Lockley died on 8 January 2010.
  • Eric McGauley
    Eric McGauley was a Military Police lance corporal with 102 Provo Company. He crossed the Channel on the Liberty Ship SS Will Rogers, and landed in Normandy one day after D-Day. While waiting to land, he remembers watching the nearby warships firing their guns in support of the troops ashore. His unit were equipped with motorbikes, and had to carry them ashore through deep water. Ashore, the military policemen carried out a variety of jobs, such as guarding enemy prisoners of war, and organising mine detection.
  • Ernie Knibbs
    Ernie Knibbs joined the Royal Marines in October 1942. On D-Day he was one of four crewmen on a small landing craft that was part of 536 LCA Flotilla. Their craft operated from the ship SS Empire Cutlass, which carried men of 2nd East Yorkshires and 1st South Lancashire Regiment to Sword Beach on D-Day. He witnessed the sinking of the Norwegian destroyer Svenner by German E-boats (torpedo boats) early on D-Day. After 6 June the ship returned to the UK and brought over US troops to the American landing beaches.
  • Frank Allen
    On D-Day, Frank Allen was an 18-year old private who landed on Gold Beach with 1685 Company, Royal Army Service Corps. After being called up as a conscript in 1943, he initially trained with the Durham Light Infantry and was then attached to the Royal Hampshire Regiment. Later he took part in the capture of Brussels airport, and was in Antwerp when it was attacked by V-1s and V-2s. He served through to the end of the war in Germany, and was demobilised in 1947.
  • Frank Davies
    Frank Davies joined the army in 1941, exactly three years to the day before D-Day. He was a corporal serving at Juno Beach on a Rhino Ferry, which was used to bring ashore troops and supplies from the larger ships that could not come right up to the beach.
  • Frank Quelch
    Frank Quelch was a bombardier in 59th Anti-Tank Regiment, a Portsmouth Territorial Army unit that was part of 43rd (Wessex) Division. He manned a towed 17-pounder anti-tank gun. He landed in Normandy on 24 June 1944. He served in the fierce fighting around Hill 112 in July, until he was wounded and sent back to the UK.
  • Frank Rosier
    Frank Rosier served in 2nd Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment, and landed in the second wave on Gold Beach on D-Day, then aged 18. His unit was part of 56th Independent Brigade, which was attached to 50th Division for D-Day (and was later attached to 7th Armoured Division). His unit was tasked with taking Bayeux on 7 June 1944. He served in the intensive infantry fighting during the Battle of Normandy, and after nearly three months he was wounded near Le Havre. He was later awarded the Legion d’Honneur by the French government for his work with the Normandy Veterans Association.
  • Frederick Temple
    Frederick Temple was a Royal Marine corporal and the coxswain of a small landing craft (a “Landing Craft, Assault”, or LCA) at Gold Beach on D-Day. His craft was attached to the ship SS Empire Cutlass. After landing troops on D-Day, his ship went to Southampton and carried US soldiers to Omaha Beach. After making four journeys to Normandy, he served with 116th Brigade, Royal Marines, ashore in Belgium and Holland.
  • Fredrick Lee
    Frederick Lee was a private in the five-man crew of a flail (mine-clearing) tank, part of 5th Royal Tank Regiment. They were one of the first units to land on Gold Beach. He particularly remembers the comradeship amongst each tank crew: even officers were called by their Christian names, which would not have happened elsewhere in the army.
  • George Cross
    George Cross is now aged 100. He joined the Army in 1940, and on D-Day was a lance bombardier with 393rd Battery, 120th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment. He landed at Juno Beach on 6 June, and even found a local shop still open, at which he bought some photographs of Normandy that he still has today. He remembers sleeping in a ditch that night, and the sergeant major telling them all to shave the next morning!
  • George Hurley
    George Hurley was a seaman who worked on the Mulberry Harbours.
  • Gerald Brown
    Gerald Brown was a Petty Officer Stoker on board the destroyer HMS Urania. On D-Day the Urania escorted a convoy to Gold Beach, and then fired her guns in support of the troops ashore. Gerald was shot through the hand while on deck.
  • Getano Benza
    19-year old Getano Benza left the UK from Southampton several days after D-Day. Previously he had been in a camp at Swansea. He served with the US 505th Port Battalion, and had the job of unloading ships at Omaha Beach in Normandy. On one occasion, he was unloading an ammunition ship (with its highly explosive cargo) when it was attacked by a German bomber.
  • Glynn Evans
    Glynn Evans landed at Bernières-sur-Mer on Juno Beach on 7 June as a signalman with 29 Line Section, 2nd Army Signals, 30 Corps and 4th Armoured Brigade Signals. His role was laying telephone lines for communications between forward troops and rear headquarters. Telephone lines were usually laid along the sides of roads, where the Germans had sometimes laid mines, so it was dangerous work. At the end of the war he was with the British forces in Berlin, providing communications for the Potsdam Conference between the UK, the USA and the Soviet Union. In Germany he met his future wife Muriel, who was a teleprinter operator on the staff of General Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander, and had sent the message from France to the Soviet Union announcing the end of the war.
  • Gordon Dance
    On D-Day Gordon Dance was just two months short of his eighteenth birthday. He was doing communications work near Southampton, in connection with the Pipeline Under the Ocean (PLUTO).
  • Graham Russel-Sharp
    Graham Russel-Sharp joined the Territorial Army in 1938, before the start of the Second World War. On D-Day he was a 23-year old private with the headquarters of 6th Airborne Division. He landed near Ranville in a glider, and was immediately caught up in the fighting, including capturing a chateau. He says that for the first 24 hours, it was every man for himself, and he is lucky to be alive.
  • Harry Marrington
    Harry Marrington served in the Royal Naval Patrol Service. On D-Day he was on HMS Olvina, a fishing trawler that had been converted as a minesweeper, and which was off Omaha Beach. Soon after D-Day, he served on smaller landing craft, and later on other minesweepers.
  • Hubert George
    Hubert George was called up in September 1939, when all 20-year olds had to register for military service. He was in France in 1940 with the British Expeditionary Force. After the German offensive that May he returned to the UK, and joined 33rd Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. On D-Day the regiment’s Priest self-propelled guns fired from the landing craft in support of the troops about to land, and later came ashore themselves. He was a forward observer for the artillery, and often accompanied infantry units (usually the King’s Own Scottish Borderers).
  • Hugh Dodds
    Hugh Dodds was a 19-year old Royal Marine, serving in the crew of a Centaur tank. His unit landed on Juno Beach on D-Day to support Canadian troops, including the Winnipeg Rifles. He remembers the total chaos on that day. After D-Day he was sent to India as part of the force preparing to invade Japan (an invasion which never took place). In total he served for eight years during and after the Second World War.
  • James Kaminski
    James Kaminski landed on Juno Beach on D-Day with the Royal Army Service Corps. He had only joined the Army four months previously. He drove a variety of types of lorries, carrying whatever had to be moved around. He is a founder member of the Portsmouth branch of the Normandy Veterans Association.
  • Jim Tuckwell
    Jim Tuckwell served in 1st Battalion, The Dorset Regiment. He was amongst the first troops to land on Gold Beach. While landing he was shot in the arm and chest, and was repatriated to the UK. His mother did not hear that he had been wounded until two weeks later. Six weeks after D-Day he had recovered enough to return to Normandy, and served through to the end of the war.
  • Joe Gilbert
    Joe Gilbert served with the Royal Signals (later the Cheshire Yeomanry). He disembarked with the leading elements of 7th Armoured Division on Gold Beach on 7 June 1944, with 24 Beach Signals. His unit’s purpose was to establish communications for the Mulberry Harbour, with would be established at Arromanches not long after. He was then aged 18. He had previously served in the Portsmouth Home Guard, and in 1945-1947 was part of the occupation forces in Japan.
  • John Atkinson
    John Atkinson was called up into the Army in 1942 at age 18. He was a driver/mechanic with 49th Infantry Troops Workshop of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. He landed at Arromanches in Normandy four days after D-Day, and served throughout the rest of the war on the continent. During this time he only had seven days leave, during which he was married. He says he never met a bad man in the army, and is the last surviving member of his branch of the Normandy Veterans Association.
  • John Bazemore
    John Bazemore joined the US armed forces in 1943. On D-Day, he was an 18-year old private first class, and landed at Omaha Beach.
  • John Dennet
    John Dennett served on board LST 322 (a Landing Ship, Tank). Before D-Day both he and the ship had already participated in the landings at Sicily, Salerno and Anzio in Italy. They loaded tanks and lorries in the Portsmouth area, and then waited in the Solent. The LST landed her troops on Sword Beach in the late morning of D-Day. After 6 June, LST 322 made around another 15 trips to pick up more Allied troops from Portsmouth, Southampton or Tilbury. They often carried wounded men on the return journey, and there was a temporary operating theatre set up on board.
  • John Evans
    John Evans joined the Royal Marines in 1942. On D-Day he served on board an LCM (Landing Craft, Mechanised) of 698 Flotilla, as an 18-year old corporal coxswain. His craft set out from the Hamble River, Bursledon, and operated off Gold, Juno and Sword Beaches, bringing supplies ashore for the troops.
  • John Fisher
    John Fisher landed early on D-Day at Gold Beach with 2nd Battalion, The Devonshire Regiment. Troops of the Hampshire Regiment and Dorset Regiment – also part of 50th (Northumbrian) Division – captured the beach area, after which the Devonshires advanced inland towards Bayeux. He was an 18-year old private.
  • John Hepplewhite
    John Hepplewhite was serving with 120th Road Construction Company of the Royal Engineers in 1944. Before D-Day his unit prepared supply dumps in Hampshire and Oxfordshire where equipped was stored to await the invasion. He landed in Normandy one day after D-Day, and carried out work such as repairing roads. He says he has some good memories, but many tinged with sadness
  • John Hodgson
    John Hodgson joined the Army in 1940. On D-Day he was a 21-year old driver, and landed at Gold Beach.
  • John Jenkins
    John Jenkins was a sergeant with the Pioneer Corps (which was given the title “Royal” for its wartime service), and landed at Gold Beach. In Normandy his unit did work such as setting up ammunition dumps. He served all the way through to the end of the war in Germany, and then spent and additional year in that country. After the war he spent 26 years in the Royal Hampshire Regiment with the Territorial Army. He has received the MBE for services to the military.
  • John Riley
    John Riley was a 19-year old driver-operator with 234 Battery, 73rd Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery. This was an experienced Territorial Army unit of the Hampshire Regiment, which had already served in North Africa. The unit was equipped with Sherman tanks and M-10 tank destroyers. John Riley landed a week after D-Day, crossing the Channel on an American-crewed landing craft. He was part of the HQ section, and drove a 15 cwt wireless vehicle. In the heavy fighting in Normandy, one of his fellow driver-operators, John Atty, was posthumously awarded the Military Medal.
  • John Shanahan
    On D-Day, John Shanahan was a 23-year old rifleman in 2nd Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles (part of 3rd Division). He landed on Sword Beach on D-Day, and later took part in the fighting in Belgium and Holland.
  • Ken Baker
    Kenneth Baker was called up into the Army in 1941, and did motor mechanic’s training. In 1944 he was serving as a driver-mechanic with 65th Independent Company, Royal Army Service Corps. His unit crossed the English Channel on a Liberty Ship. They landed at Arromanches on day after D-Day, while HMS Warspite fired shells overhead (each shell sounding like an express train).
  • Ken Eckstein
    Ken Eckstein joined the army in 1939, and served with 73rd Anti-Tank Regiment. He was commissioned as an officer at the time of the 1942 Battle of El Alamein in North Africa, and then also served in Sicily before coming back to the UK for D-Day. His unit landed at Gold Beach on 9 June – he was then a lieutenant.
  • Len Hackett
    In August 1939 Leonard Hackett – then aged 16 – was called up into 214 Battery, 57th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment (a Territorial Army unit), defending Portsmouth and the surrounding area with anti-aircraft guns. By the time of D-Day, he was serving with a unit of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. They landed on Juno Beach after D-Day, and did reconnaissance work during the fighting in Normandy.
  • Leonard Buckley
    Leonard Buckley joined the Army in 1941, and entered the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry in which two of his brothers were also serving. He volunteered for the Parachute Regiment, and joined its 7th Battalion. He parachuted into Normandy on D-Day, and his unit secured the area to the east of Pegasus Bridge. He was later hit in the elbow by a bullet, which passed through and stopped in the wooden butt of his sten gun (his weapon therefore saved his life, as the bullet would otherwise have hit his chest).
  • Leonard Gibbon
    Leonard Gibbon was a motorbike despatch rider with the Royal Army Service Corps. He landed on Gold Beach on 12 June. He had been married to his wife Margaret two days earlier (they met while she was working in the officer’s bar of a NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Forces Institute), selling tea and cigarettes.
  • Leslie Garrett
    On D-Day, Leslie Garrett was a 17-year old Royal Marine on board the light cruiser HMS Diadem, off Juno Beach. He had joined the Royal Marines in Portsmouth a year earlier, concealing the fact that he was one year under age. He loaded the starboard dual-purpose 5.25 inch gun of Diadem’s ‘Y’ turret, as the cordite number (putting the explosive charge into the gun). In the last hour of D-Day, the cruiser was attacked by six enemy aircraft singly, but the fierce barrage from the cruiser’s guns prevented any damage. For three weeks, Diadem fired in support of troops ashore, until her guns wore out, by which time she had fired 3,826 shells. He subsequently served on two Russian convoys.
  • Leslie Stuart
    Leslie Stuart was a leading motor mechanic with the Royal Navy. On D-Day his landing craft was off Juno Beach. It was equipped to lay a smokescreen to protect Allied shipping in the event of attacks by the German air force. In fact this was not required, and they only saw one German aircraft on D-Day.
  • Lon Pullen
    Lon Pullen joined the Royal Navy in December 1939. The following year he was commissioned as an officer. His service there included the evacuation of Crete, and several dangerous trips taking troops from Egypt to the besieged city of Tobruk. He was awarded a Royal Humane Society medal and a mention in Despatches for rescuing sailors from a torpedoed ship. Later he was given command of LCT 7064 (a Landing Craft, Tank). The LCT took troops to Sword Beach on D-Day. A few days later LCT 7064 was badly damaged at Omaha Beach. Lon Pullen persuaded another vessel to tow his craft back to Southampton, only to be told by the authorities there to “get rid of that wreck”! He later transferred to flying duties and finished the war as a pilot with fleet air arm.
  • Marie Page
    Marie Page was a nurse with the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve. She landed at Port-en-Bessin on Gold Beach, a few days after D-Day. She was part of a group of about nine nurses who went to Normandy to treat the wounded troops.
  • Mary Verrier
    Mary Verrier joined the Red Cross at age eight, and is still a member. As a young nurse in Portsmouth during the Second World War, she nursed casualties from the Dunkirk Evacuation, air raids and the Dieppe Raid - as well as from D-Day. The wounded that she treated after D-Day, at Queen Alexandra’s hospital in Portsmouth, included German prisoners of war.
  • Maurice Ralph
    After joining the army in July 1942, Maurice Ralph joined the Royal Corps of Signals and was posted to 116 Special Wireless Section. This secret mobile unit comprised about 100 men, and went to Normandy in August 1944. He intercepted and wrote down German army messages, although as they were in code he had no idea what they were about! The messages were then passed to Bletchley Park for decoding. Once decoded, such messages often revealed vital information about the German forces and their plans (although he never found out what information “his” messages contained).
  • Moreen James
    Moreen James served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS or Wrens). At the time of D-Day she was working in the underground headquarters in tunnels under Fort Southwick, just north of Portsmouth. The HQ was the communications centre for D-Day, and involved all branches of the armed forces. She plotted the movements of naval convoys in the English Channel on a map.
  • Morris Carpenter
    Morris Carpenter joined the Royal Signals in 1942, at age 18. At the time of D-Day was a despatch rider attached to the 2nd Tactical Air Force. He landed on Sword Beach just after D-Day. After landing he carried a message on his motorbike to an American general at Omaha Beach.
  • Nelsie Bowles
    Nelsie Bowles joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS or Wrens) in 1938. At the time of D-Day she was serving at the Royal Marines Barracks at Eastney, as a ledger clerk in the Barrack Master’s office. When she took the ferry across Portsmouth Harbour, she could see the many ships that were assembling in the Solent, although she did not know exactly what was about to happen. She was worried for her husband, who was to take part in the landings. He landed on Juno Beach.
  • Patricia McKean
    Patricia McKean was in the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS or Wrens). In mid-1944 she was at the shore base of HMS Vectis on the Isle of Wight. This was the headquarters for Force J, the naval force that would land the Canadians on Juno Beach on D-Day. In the lead-up to the landings, she was doing code and cypher work, and handled many secret messages that were marked “Bigot” (the codename for the most secret communications about D-Day). Later she did similar work on ships taking troops overseas (it was very unusual for a Wren to go to sea).
  • Percy Waterman
    Percy Waterman entered the army a few weeks after war broke out in 1939, and joined the Royal Army Service Corps. During the 1940 Dunkirk Evacuation, he spent two days and nights on the beach waiting to be evacuated. In 1941-1943 he served with the “Desert Rats” (7th Armoured Division) in North Africa and Sicily, before returning to the UK. He landed in Normandy four days after D-Day, with 36 Company RASC. His company carried all kinds of supplies in their lorries, such as food or ammunition. The two most abiding memories he has of the war are being in the first convoy of supplies to reach the Belsen Concentration Camp, and the fact that throughout the whole of the war he was never once able to get home to see his wife for Christmas.
  • Philip Soper
    Philip Soper joined the army in May 1940. By the time of D-Day, he was a 24-year old gunner with 15th Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery. He landed on King Sector of Gold Beach on 7 June, after which his unit supported British and Canadian troops in the area. He was the No.2 of a ten-man team firing a 5.5 inch gun.
  • Ralph Jackson
    Ralph Jackson joined the army in November 1942. He landed in Normandy on 23 June 1944 with the 7th Battalion of the Royal Northumberland Regiment, a Vickers machinegun unit that was part of 59th (Staffordshire) Division. He was driving a Bren Carrier (a light armoured vehicle). They had departed from Tilbury, and spend six days at sea (with little food) because their landing was delayed due to bad weather. The division suffered very heavy casualties during the Battle of Normandy, to the point where it was disbanded and the remaining troops joined other units. He joined 15th (Scottish) Division, serving through to the end of the war in Germany.
  • Robert Stoba
    Robert Stoba was aged 23 on D-Day. As an aircraftman with the Royal Air Force, he landed on Utah Beach with the American troops.
  • Ron Lodge
    Ron Lodge joined the army in April 1943. He landed on D-Day at Courseulles-sur-Mer, on Juno Beach. He was serving as a sapper with 966 Inland Water Transport Company, Royal Engineers. His unit operated Rhino Ferries, large pontoons which transferred men and vehicles from ships offshore onto the beaches. He also drove a bulldozer to recover vehicles that had bogged down in the sand.
  • Ronald Ball
    Ronald Ball joined the RAF Regiment in 1942. He landed in Normandy fourteen days after D-Day, and was then aged 21. He was wounded in an explosion at an ammunition dump he was guarding, which left him blind for three days.
  • Ronald Black
    Ronald Black served in the Royal Navy on board on Landing Ship Tank (LST) No.237, which on D-Day took British troops to Gold Beach, at Ver-sur-Mer.
  • Ronald Boor
  • Ronald Pollitt
    Ronald Pollitt served in Normandy with 2nd/6th South Staffordshire Regiment ( 59th Staffordshire Division), when due to severe casualties was transferred to 5th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders. He took part in the hard fighting that was experienced by all infantrymen in the Battle of Normandy – and had his 19th birthday at the end of the campaign. His unit then advanced through Belgium and Holland. After witnessing the horrific death of a comrade, he was hospitalised with battle fatigue.
  • Ronald Walsh
    Ronald Walsh served in the Royal Navy from 1936 to 1969. On D-Day he was leading seaman on the frigate HMS Kingsmill, operating off Gold Beach as the headquarters ship for Force G2, part of the naval assault force there. During the course of D-Day, many wounded troops were brought on board from small landing craft to be checked by medical personnel, before being sent to hospital ships. After D-Day, the Kingsmill patrolled off Normandy for a further two weeks.
  • Ronald Warren
    On D-Day, Ronald Warren was a 19-year old able seaman in the Royal Navy. He was serving on LCT 1014 (a Landing Craft, Tank) which landed British troops at Sword Beach. His job was to help lower the ramp. To do this he had to lie on the deck at the front of the vessel, which was unnerving as he only had a thin sheet of steel between himself and any mines on the beach. They later made more trips, carrying British and American troops.
  • Rosa Mower
    Rosa Mower was a Wren (a member of the Women’s Royal Naval Service, or WRNS). She was serving at Southampton, in the South Western Hotel (known as H.M.S. Shrapnel). She helped look after wounded men brought back from D-Day, as they were waiting to be taken inland to hospitals. The secrecy of the time was so great that she did not realise in advance that D-Day was about to take place.
  • Sam Weaver
    Sam Weaver joined the army in April 1942. On D-Day he was a 22-year old lieutenant in 2nd Battalion, The South Wales Borderers (part of 56th Infantry Brigade). He landed in Normandy around 1pm on 6 June. As this unit was landing later on D-Day and was intended to come ashore on dry land, the troops wore waders which reached up to their chests. In the event they landed in chest-deep water, and Sam Weaver found that the waves soon filled up his waders so that he risked being drowned by them, until the supporting straps broke and he could kick them off.
  • Steve Norton
    Steve Norton joined the Royal Navy in 1942. On D-Day he was a gunner on board an LCT [Landing Craft, Tank] which was at Gold Beach. The LCT was carrying six Sherman tanks, and some Commandos. As they landed, the first two of the tanks were hit by enemy fire. After D-Day, the LCT travelled back and forth to Southampton, bringing more troops to Normandy.
  • Ted Reynolds
    Ted Reynolds joined the army in August 1940, after the Dunkirk Evacuations. He was aged only 16, but said he was two years older. He served in the Royal Army Service Corps, and was attached to the Royal Army Medical Corps. He sailed from the East India Docks, and landed on Gold Beach one day after D-Day in a Bedford truck. He had to find and purify water that could be used by the troops, and also drove ambulances such as the one shown in the photograph. He was at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the end of the war, where he met a Ukranian refugee who he later married.
  • Thomas May
    In 1944, Thomas May was a 20-year old able seaman on board LST 159 (a Landing Ship, Tank). In the previous year, both the LST and Thomas May had taken part in the Italian landings, from Sicily to Anzio. The ship took on board Canadian troops from a Highland regiment, and waited in the Solent for several days. On the morning of D-Day, LST 159 landed these troops at Graye-sur-Mer on Juno Beach. After D-Day, the LST made another 37 voyages across to Normandy, and later made trips from Tilbury to Ostende and Antwerp.
  • Tony Fairminer
    Tony Fairminer was a leading seaman gunner on board the cruiser HMS Enterprise. His post was in the director control, which was a position high up a mast, from which the ship’s 6 inch guns were controlled. On and after D-Day, the Enterprise fired her guns at various targets in support of the troops. All the ship’s 6 inch shells had been fired off after six days, and she returned to Portsmouth to rearm. On the way back, the Enterprise carried Prime Minister Winston Churchill on a visit to the Normandy beaches.
  • Travers Johnson
    Travers Johnson joined the army in 1942. In 1944 he was serving with a machinegun unit, 1st Battalion, The Middlesex Regiment, part of 15th (Scottish) Division. He fell sick before D-Day and did not join his unit in Normandy until 24 June 1944, then serving through to the end of the war.
  • Vincent Horten
    Vincent Horten had been serving in the armed forces since 1940. He landed on Juno Beach on D-Day with 48 (Royal Marine) Commando. His unit captured a strongpoint at St Aubin-sur-Mer. He was wounded in the leg and arm by mortar fire on the beach.
  • Wally Harris
    Wally Harris served in the army for six years and seven months, in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, with 90th (City of London) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. After serving in Iraq and Sicily in 1942-1943, his unit landed at Gold Beach on D-Day as part of 50th Division. He was a sergeant in a charge of a Light Aid Detachment, which maintained the unit’s vehicles. He won the Military Medal for bravery in engaging much larger numbers of enemy troops near Brussels that September.
  • Wally Stockley
    On D-Day Wally Stockley was a 19-year old gunner with 3rd Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery. He joined the army in March 1943. He landed on Gold Beach on D-Day, and served all the way through to the end of the war in Germany. He took part in the victory parade in Berlin on 21 July 1945, and his regiment fired a 19-gun salute as part of the ceremonies that day.
  • Walter Griffin
    Walter Griffin joined the Royal Navy in 1938. On D-Day he was a leading seaman on board the light cruiser HMS Ajax, which fired her guns in support of the troops landing on Gold Beach. Later he served on board as landing craft at Juno Beach.
  • William Barrow
    William Barrow joined the Royal Marines in 1943, and did his training at Eastney Barracks in Portsmouth. In 1944 he was serving on the battleship HMS Malaya, in the shell rooms which passed ammunition to the ship’s guns. On D-Day the ship was in Scotland, but in July and August she was off the coast of Normandy, near St Malo. The Malaya fired her guns in support of the Allied troops ashore, mainly at targets on the mainland. She carried out a huge night bombardment of the enemy-occupied island of Cezemboie, near St Malo.
  • William Hiscock
    William Hiscock was a 19-year old Royal Marine serving on the heavy cruiser HMS Hawkins. On D-Day the ship fired its guns in support of American troops in the Utah and Omaha Beach area. After five days, the ship had to return to Portsmouth and she had used up all her ammunition. The Hawkins then spend seven weeks off the coast of Normandy, acting as a depot ship for smaller craft (supplying them with fuel, bread, mail, ammunition etc.). At night he crewed one of the ship’s 4 inch guns, to defend against Germany aircraft trying to lay anti-shipping mines.