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"I heard the roar of an approaching fighter plane"

LAC Eric Reedman, 91, landed on Gold Beach on 16 June 1944 where his unit, Advanced HQ, 80 Wing made their way two miles inland to Tour en Besson. Although the Allied Forces were still advancing, Eric and his unit set up a convoy in the relative quiet of an orchard – until he found himself being shot at by enemy aircraft.

Eric says: "Our rendezvous was in the American sector at Tour en Besson. Once we were on the beaches our selected site was an orchard where we proceeded to position the vehicles around the fields alongside the hedges.

"While others dug slit trenches, I was given the job of lacing together two camouflage nets on the sides of our vehicles. The idea was that when the nets were hung down the sides and had branches sticking out of them they would blend into the hedgerows and not be seen by aircraft from above.

"From the time we had landed, there had been quite a lot of distant firing and aerial activity, but in our area it was relatively quiet. I was on my knees on the roof of one of the vehicles when I heard the roar of an approaching fighter plane – I thought it was just a Spitfire until it opened up and machine gunned right through the orchard! I leaped toward a ditch but my toe-caps got tangled in the net and I was left dangling upside down until the attack was over!

"I didn't see the fighting on the beaches but I can remember seeing rifles stuck in the ground with helmets of the men lost perched on top of them.

"I regularly visit Normandy to commemorate the D-Day anniversaries, it’s important to remember those men who never came back – D-Day was the biggest ever amphibious invasion in history and it should never be forgotten.

"Over the last ten years I've been visiting schools talking about the Second World War and the children are still fascinated by it.

"Unfortunately I won't be visiting Normandy for the 70th anniversary this year due to ill health. Over the years the RAF Benevolent Fund has helped me since I've found it harder to get about. Three years ago they bought me a scooter which enables me to go out locally – it means so much to me to get out and meet people and without this scooter I just wouldn't be able to do that."

This blog is in memory of all those men who did not return.

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