Remembering the invasion heroes who never returned

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JACK MORTIMER can still remember the smoky haze that fell over the beaches of Normandy as thousands of men fought.

It may be seven decades since 61,000 British soldiers stormed the beaches of France as part of the D-day Landings – but for the 90-year-old it seems just like yesterday.

The Drumhead service on Southsea Common in Hampshire to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

The Drumhead service on Southsea Common in Hampshire to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Today he will be stepping back on those beaches alongside hundreds of comrades to remember the thousands who never returned back home 70 years ago.

Mr Mortimer was in the Sixth Beach Group Ordnance Corps and he was one of thousands to land on Sword Beach and advance to Caen.

He was tasked with making sure the frontline had the right equipment in one of the most pivotal moments of the war.

He said: “There were thousands and thousands of soldiers as well as thousands and thousands of ships that day.

“It was a great adventure but with that came the dangers of adventure. D-Day was a colossal happening really - it was all muck and bullets. It was smoky and there were shells streaming over our heads from the big boats out in the Channel.

“People just don’t realise how many ships and boats were there. It wasn’t easy and it was dangerous. There were snipers around. It was very noisy, smelly and smokey and I can remember there were quite a few wounded about. It was the start of the beginning of the end of the war.”

Jack and his wife Flo, 89. first went back to the beaches in 2004 to retrace his steps and remember his fallen comrades.

He said: “It was a very emotional experience. But the main reason I am going back is to pay tribute and remember those who never came back. They were all heroes.”

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