DCSIMG

Scots veterans remember those who died on D-Day

Prince Charles meets veterans at Bayeux Cemetery during the 70th commemorations of D-Day. Picture: Getty

Prince Charles meets veterans at Bayeux Cemetery during the 70th commemorations of D-Day. Picture: Getty

  • by LUCY CHRISTIE
 

SCOTLAND’S D-Day veterans have been remembering the comrades they lost in the historic invasion of German-occupied France 70 years ago.

Kenneth Werrett, 92, landed on Normandy’s Sword beach on June 6, 1944 with the 49th Reconnaissance and went on to survive a mine strike and sniper attack.

The great-grandfather, from Kirkintilloch, East Dunbartonshire, said it was difficult watching the commemorations across the Channel as he recalled his fellow soldiers who died.

Mr Werrett said: “I lost a couple of good mates. That’s the thing that upsets you.

“I was only a boy and you didn’t realise how bad it was. You took things as they came and that was it. You didn’t realise what you were going into.”

The veteran, originally from Abergavenny in Wales, was 18 when he joined the Army in 1940.

The Reconnaissance Corps gathered vital tactical information in battle for infantry divisions, helping commanders decide how best to defeat the enemy.

Mr Werrett carried messages on motorbikes in Normandy and was at the wheel of an armoured vehicle when one day he struck a mine.

When he got out of the vehicle, a bullet from a German sniper skimmed his head and he spent six weeks in hospital.

He said: “I had a bit of a setback. They said I was lucky, it [the bullet] just ricocheted off.

“I was in a field hospital for six weeks and then I went back to my regiment. It wasn’t bad enough to put me on a plane.

“We didn’t have a lot of casualties in our mob, we were very lucky in that respect. We seemed to keep getting away with things.”

David Johnston, 89, from Grangemouth, Falkirk, was a driver in the Royal Army Service Corps and his unit landed in Normandy to take Cannes a few days after D-Day.

At 18 years old it was his first assignment and he was responsible for delivering ammunition, food and fuel.

He said: “We had finished training in Dover. We arrived in the dark and we were just crawling along. It was heavy-going and a real strain on the shoulders and eyes.”

Both men have shared their memories with Legion Scotland (formerly Royal British Legion Scotland) as part of its Voices of Veterans campaign to pay tribute to ex servicemen and women on the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings and commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

Mr Werrett’s daughter Annette Bowman, who lives in Kirkintilloch with husband Ian, said: “He is a very special person in our lives, especially to his grandchildren.

“He has two great grandsons and it’s great for all of us that his experiences of D-Day are recorded and kept for posterity as part of Legion Scotland Voices of Veterans campaign. He is really proud to take part.”

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