“We approached Sword Beach [in Normandy] in a landing craft; we had all of our gear on our backs and a rubber ring around our stomach to help keep us afloat. Let’s face it the landing was very gory. You didn’t have time to think, survival instinct kicked in. After reaching the beach, I ran up towards a parapet, and searched for mines. After 12 hours of being on the go we were exhausted and then had to dig a fox hole to sleep in. We had to dig six foot down and two foot wide."
"I slept outside for the next year or so, we had no protection from the elements we had an oversized gas cape to go over our clothes and all of our gear. We rarely slept lying down. One time we slept in a barn we were ravaged by fleas – so even that was no good!” It was a different time. I wasn’t brave, I wasn’t a hero I was a little cog in a big wheel. When you add all those little cogs together – then we became important. We all worked together towards peace."
(Photo: Charlie Surbey)
First soldier to receive VC from Queen Elizabeth II died peacefully on 20th June at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, surrounded by his family.
The Chelsea Pensioners and Royal Hospital staff enjoyed another fantastic year of Live at Chelsea including headline performances by Kaiser Chiefs & James Blunt.