On 6 June 1944 he was 18 years and 6 weeks old. He was a Royal Marine Commando. He drove a landing craft on D-Day. That is all I know.
My dad never spoke about his D-Day or other wartime experiences. From my childhood until his death in 2003 all he would say when questioned was ‘I drove a landing craft. I didn’t see anything; I kept my head down.’
We visited Arromanches once in the 1970s. He stood on the cliff overlooking the beach and mulberry harbour for a few moments then turned and left without a word.
In the 1980s he and mum visited the Royal Marine Commando memorial at Spean Bridge and the training centre at Achnacarry. According to mum she dragged out a few funny anecdotes, nothing more.
When we kids asked about the war he told us funny stories about idiotic officers, ducking parade duty and similar larks all, I now know, from his post-war service.
In later years I know that he did revisit these times in his head, but he would never share his thoughts.
He didn’t want any part of the 50th anniversary commemoration and, if he were still alive today, I guess he wouldn’t take part in this one.
A man of few words, little show, but a lot of action. I honour and commemorate the young man in the photo who fought and survived, and love and miss the man and father he became.