A South Cockerington man has given an emotional account of his role in the Normandy Landings, as the world commemorates the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
Bert Peach, who celebrates his 90th birthday yesterday (June 11), was in charge of one of the landing craft that transported troops to Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer at Juno, one of the five Normandy beaches targeted in the Allied invasion.
Bert, who joined the Navy in 1942 at the age of 18, was the coxswain in charge of the landing craft as it approached the beach in the early hours of June 6, 1944.
The vessel was loaded with Canadian Assault Troopers, who were dropped into the rough sea as the Allied invasion got underway.
Bert’s landing craft later took a mortar to the bows and he was wounded, having to swim to a surviving craft returning to Breskens in Netherlands.
Bert had hoped to visit Normandy to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day last week, but unfortunately he was unable to make the journey due to ill health.
Bert looked back at his photos and memories of D-Day and spoke proudly of the involvement of himself and his colleagues.
Bert said: “I’ve done my duty like the rest of the boys, and they would do it again. We lost a lot of good men, but we embraced our duty.
“It’s nice to see how interested young people are in the history of D-Day, and I think that in future it will be just like Henry VIII - people will always remember.
“The Second World War will be remembered because of the carnage. The whole world suffered.”
Bert’s wife of 68 years, Elsie Joyce, added: “I’m very proud of Bert, and of course very thankful that he came back!”