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"What a sight it was to look down and see so many boats, like a giant armada!"

Bunny MasonFlying Officer Bunny Mason, 90, was a lone rear gunner on the Stirling Mk 4, which was specially adapted for D-Day to tow gliders over the Normandy beaches. The British Airspeed Horsa glider was used to transport paratroops and equipment, hundreds landing within just a few square kilometres once they were released.

Bunny says: "It was the early hours of the morning on 6 June 1944 when we set off on our mission to drop paratroops over Caen in France. What a sight it was to look down and see so many boats, like a giant armada. There was so much activity on the ground and in the air.

"As a lone gunner you had to be vigilant – constantly on the look out for fighters. People always ask me if I was scared - we were apprehensive but we were highly trained and had a job to do, we all depended on each other.

"Once we were over Normandy the glider pilot was able to release a cable which attached the glider to the Stirling. It was then down to him to land the aircraft often under direct gunfire. We did experience flak that day but we were lucky, we didn’t lose anybody – not like on other operations I flew on, including Arnhem.

"Realising it was D-Day was a real boost - at last it was happening. D-Day couldn't have happened without air cover from the RAF but it was certainly a joint effort. Looking back we had a job to do and we got on with it. We're thanked now for what we did but there are so many who aren’t alive who can’t be thanked personally and that still hurts."

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

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