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D-Day veteran remembers landings in Normandy

Geoff Noble, who was in the first wave of landing parties on the beaches on D-Day, with Admiral Sir George Zambellas.

Geoff Noble, who was in the first wave of landing parties on the beaches on D-Day, with Admiral Sir George Zambellas.

A D-Day veteran has spoken of his emotional return to Normandy for the 70th anniversary of the landings.

Geoffrey Noble, 89, of Brighouse, was a wireman on a Royal Navy Tank Landing Craft LCT, part of the 51st flotilla of assault force G2.

In remembering his time, Mr Noble recalls landing on King Sector, Gold Beach, at 7.25am on June 6, 1944, and the terrible scenes he encountered.

“After successfully landing our cargo of troops and equipment on the beach, the craft hit a mine which immobilised the engine.

“We were left drifting off the French coast for several days before being towed back to the assembly anchorage by an American destroyer.

“Now that I have great grandchildren and children, I realise my family must have been worried.”

The D-Day commemorations ran from June 4 to June 6 and were attended by the Queen, Prince Charles, President Obama, First Sea Lord Sir George Zambellas, David Miliband, Nick Clegg, and Bishop Nigel McCulloch.

One of the events that stood out for Mr Noble was the afternoon visit on June 4 to the cemetery at Tilly-sur-Seulles.

“There was not a dry eye in the crowd,” he said.

Veterans received a large commemorative bronze medallion from the city of Caen, with the words “We Will Remember Them” imprinted on the back.

Mr Noble is one of several Brighouse D-Day veterans who returned to France for the commemorations. The trip to Normandy was organised by the Normandy Veterans Association and carried around 250 veterans, and relatives and carers, over to the ceremony.

He will celebrate his 90th birthday in October.

The day commemorated the D-Day landings when around 132,000 Royal Marines and Allied Soldiers were transported to Normandy beaches by ship, landing craft and seaboat. Around 23,400 arrived by air transportation.

The landings involved a combined force of the British, American, Canadian and French armies, as well as hundreds from the Royal Navy.

 

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