Today, Sunday 6th June 2021, marks 77 years since the D-Day landings, when the Allied forces fought to free northwest Europe from German occupation. Known by its codename Operation Neptune it was the largest seaborne invasion in history.
By 1944, over 2 million troops from over 12 countries were in Britain in preparation for the invasion. As well as those from the UK, D-Day forces included sailors, soldiers, and airmen from the USA, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland and others.
Over the years Erskine has been very proud and honoured to care for Veterans who were part of the D-Day landings.
One Veteran who served in the Royal Navy was part of the combined operations on landing craft, with American troops carrying much needed fuels and supplies fuel and supplies.
Another was attached to the 3rd Escort Group which rendezvoused with battleship the HMS Warspite before heading out to Normandy. The HMS Rowley, on which the Veteran was based, had the unenviable job of protecting the battleship whilst she was shelling the German positions. He will never forget watching the Landings from the open bridge, watching fellow comrades trying to get ashore: “It wasn’t very nice, sometimes I think how many of us are still here? Did they see the war through, did anything happen to the crew I was with after D-Day? Who knows”.
Another Veteran recalled feeling no emotion as he fired shells and they reached their targets. He said there were so many lost there was no time for emotion.
Memories from just some of the heroes, Erskine Veterans, who sacrificed so much on these beaches 77 years ago for the freedom we enjoy today.
Landing craft (Mediadrumimages/Royston Leonard)Images) & Royal Marine Commandos attached to the 3rd Infantry Division moving inland from Sword Beach with a bridgelayer in the background (Picture: Mediadrumimages/Royston Leonard)
To find out more about Erskine’s work please visit our website at www.erskine.org.uk, follow on twitter @ErskineCharity via Facebook www.facebook.com/ErskineVeteransCharity or listen to Erskine Veterans Radio at Erskine.org.uk/radio