D-Day veteran who scrambled up Juno beach under heavy fire celebrates 90th birthday (From Bournemouth Echo)
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D-Day veteran who scrambled up Juno beach under heavy fire celebrates 90th birthday
ONE of the youngest surviving D-Day war veterans celebrated his 90th birthday overlooking the sea at Poole Harbour.
Ted Young landed on a Normandy beach in France 69 years ago with fellow troops from the 25 Airfield Construction Group of the Royal Engineers and Canadian forces.
He scrambled up Juno beach under heavy fire and survived the momentous turning point on June 6, 1944, which was hailed as the largest amphibious operation in history. “I landed and had to wade through with water up to my neck. All we were told is: ‘Keep your guns dry’ so we held them high over our heads,” he said.
“It took us all at least six days to dry off. I remember climbing the sand dune and spotting a farm with a windmill, so I know exactly where I landed.”
As a soldier with the 681 Road Company of the Royal Engineers, Ted was tasked with building roads, bridges and airfields, even helping to construct the first airfield for spitfires in Bény-sur-Mer. He lied about his age in order to sign up in Colchester at the age of 17, as you were supposed to be at least 19.
Ted, who now lives with his eldest daughter Irene Richards and her husband Paul in Parkstone, attends the D-Day anniversary remembrance events every year.
Irene said: “The camaraderie is still incredible today. We go over for the celebrations and all the veterans come to life as if 20 years has been taken off their age.
“They sing, have drinks and pay homage to those who lost their lives.”
The great-grandfather married his wife, also called Irene, in 1961 and he now has seven great-grandchildren. He celebrated his birthday on Saturday at the Haven Hotel in Poole.
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