As world leaders marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day, a Second World War veteran from Skegness reflected on his extraordinary experiences during the Normandy landings.
Now aged 90, Eric Ingham still vividly recalls his role in one of the most pivotal events of the Second World War.
An RAF radar operator, intercepting hostile planes with radar controlling aircraft, Eric was on board a ship protecting Allied forces on Utah and Omaha beaches. Arriving in French waters the day before the invasion on June 6, 1944, he witnessed the chaos of battle first hand.
The following month Eric’s ship was attacked and sunk by German bombers and despite spending half-an-hour in the sea without a lifebelt he survived ‘without a scratch’.
He said: “Seeing bodies floating all around the boat was one of my most horrific memories and yet the next day we were eating sandwiches and continuing our work as there was no other choice but to get on with it.”
“One of my best memories was being rescued after being torpedoed. However, Normandy (D-Day) was also my worst memory of the war, especially the night before. But having your life saved is an exhilarating experience.”
Following D-Day Eric was sent to India and posted near Goa where he had to intercept Japanese kamikazes. He was due to join an aircraft carrier to be transported out to Java and Sumatra when the second atom bomb was dropped on Japan.
His wife’s frail health meant Eric was unable to travel to Normandy but he was there in spirit. A supporter of the Royal British Legion, he has raised money for Poppy Appeals in the past.
A new set of commemorative medals, the D-Day Dozen Commemorative Medal Collection, has been created in honour of those that fought on D-Day, which will see a percentage of the money raised go to the Royal British Legion.