D-DAY veteran Eddie Gaines has been presented with his portrait live on television – by Hollywood legend Al Pacino.

Eddie, aged 94, who served as a stoker on a barge during the Normandy landings, was one of the few Brits to see the carnage first-hand on Omaha Beach, the bloodiest of the beach assaults made that day.

It was the most heavily defended beach of the World War II operation and had been assigned to American troops.

Now living in Creekmoor, Poole, Eddie – who is registered blind and is an ambassador for Blind Veterans UK – transported troops, equipment and 35 tonnes of TNT onto Omaha Beach under enemy fire back on June 6, 1944.

During an interview with the Daily Echo he recalled the American soldiers were praying on their way to the beach.

"Then the ramp would drop onto half-submerged bodies, it was quite something...quite something.

"I had nightmares for years afterwards," he said.

Eddie appeared on the BBC programme, The One Show, on Tuesday (February 4) evening, following a chance meeting in railway carriage with Lt Col (Retd) Stewart Hill.

Lt Col Hill painted the portrait of Eddie for his 95th birthday.

After being presented with the painting live on air, Eddie, who was thrilled to shake hands with Al Pacino, told Lt Col Hill: "It is fantastic, thank you."

Later, he told the Daily Echo: "I put my arm around Al Pacino and told him how I was with the Americans for six months, and that they kept me well fed.

"I also asked him if it was true there was a place in America called Omaha, and that I'd always wanted to visit but it was probably unlikely now."

American forces suffered around 2,000 casualties during their attack but eventually took the beach.

The Omaha Beach assault would later provide the backdrop for the harrowing opening scenes of Stephen Spielberg's Oscar winning film Saving Private Ryan

Lt Col Hill, who has served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan, is now an artist.

Initially he took to painting as therapy after being seriously injured by shrapnel in 2009, while on a mission to clear more than 300 insurgents in Afghanistan. He suffered a brain injury and, at the time, was not expected to live.

Lt Col Hill was on a train travelling to Bournemouth when the pair met and a friendship developed.

"People's lives have been lost, people's families have been changed forever because of the sacrifices they (D-Day veterans) made," said Lt Col Hill. "I think it is very important for society to recognise that, to remember that.

Speaking before the unveiling, he said: "I feel a lot of responsibility for this painting.

"I'm really looking forward to Eddie seeing himself."