DCSIMG

Hipperholme man helped liberate first French village

John Slane in Ronville, France, during the remembrance service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings

John Slane in Ronville, France, during the remembrance service to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings

A D-Day veteran who helped liberate the first French village returned to mark the 70th anniversary of the landings.

John Slane, who lives in Hipperholme, was part of the 13th Parachute Battalion stationed at Larkhall military base, when he was dropped into France on June 6, 1944.

The 92-year-old was one of thousands of veterans to visit France for the anniversary, which saw remembrance services held and world leaders give speeches.

He has been a regular visitor to Ranville, going over for the 50th and 60th anniversaries. “Everyone out there is wonderful. They just want to shake your hands, give you kisses and thank you,” said Mr Slane on his visit.

“While speaking with veterans Prince Charles spoke to us. He was very talkative and very pleasant man.”

Ranville was one of the first villages to be liberated after the D-Day landings with the Parachute Battalion playing a key role in the operation.

“The children over there are all very knowledgeable about the role we played.

“It is an important part of their learning in schools about the second world war. All of them say thank you and it is just incredible. I put my beret on a boy and it made his day.”

Speaking about the D-Day landings Mr Slane said he missed his landing and was given two passwords to remember one for the daytime and one for night. When two other paras came along they asked him for it but gave the wrong one. After two days, shrapnel injured his legs and was found in a France church surrounded by dead bodies.

He was taken back to the UK for five months to undergo treatment before he retrained and continued his service.

 
 
 

Back to the top of the page