SEVENTY-five years ago my shipmates and I were confined on board the Fleet Minesweeper, HMS Dunbar during the first five days of June 1944. The fact that we were in Dover, not our home port of Grimsby, clearly told us that something was afoot.

On the third day I reached my 19th birthday. It was an indifferent celebration! Then on June 5 each and every one of us received a letter from General Eisenhower, and that night, in the dark, we joined all the other Minesweepers as we swept across the channel, ahead of the greatest Armada the world had ever seen. Our destination was Gold Beach, Normandy, where we arrived at about 0500 hrs. It was a bit noisy.

In a few days, thanks to the NHS and advances in medical science, I shall be repeating that journey to Gold Beach, just three days after my 94th birthday.

As in previous anniversary journeys on D-Day, again I shall be thinking, not of the horrors of that awful day, but of the good times I had with my friends and family when I was home on leave. I seem to recall that almost every evening I was dancing at venues now long gone, and all those tennis club dances, where I met the loveliest girls in the world, and occasionally played the piano!

My father, Eddie, and I, each in our own era, fought the wars which were supposed to end all wars! So what effect has our combined operation had on today’s world?

Due to several International banks over-reaching themselves some years ago, the man in the street is still putting up with austerity, while the rich continue to get richer. Terrorism reigns supreme both overseas and on our doorstep. Vicious criminals hiding behind the mantels of various religions commit mass murder of innocent citizens.

At home we are now four separate nations, each with its own agenda, and politicians like spoiled children, pursue their own personal campaign, rather than accept a majority vote to leave the EU. European politicians are no better, none of whom were born in 1944, obdurately ignoring the debt they owe us for giving their parents freedom.

As I take my 14 pills a day, with a wee dram of Arthur Bells elixir, I ask myself – Why did we bother?

CHARLES E SOMERVILLE, Sunderlan Drive, Christchurch