When paratrooper Fred Millward stepped onto a plane, in June 1944, he knew danger lay ahead. He and his comrades were about to become the first to land in Nazi occupied Normandy.
D-Day was under-way but few on that flight survived. Seventy years on, the bravery of those men is to be commemorated in a jump by serving members of Sixteen, Air Assault Brigade.
ITV News reporter Martha Fairlie was with Fred, as he watched the preparations:
The men of 9 parachute battalion jumped behind enemy lines as D day began - to silence the Merville gun battery that overlooked sword beach. Among them was 20-year-old Private Fred Milward. But as he jumped from the Dakota aircraft in the dead of night, his mission did not go plan.
– Veteran Fred Milward
The red light was on, waiting for the green to come - to jump. A tail drop flung me out.
My head hit the tail and took my helmet off. The number two jumped with me - we got together, and we were the only two that came out of that aircraft.
Some 70 years later, five veterans have been meeting today's paratroopers as they prepare for a mass jump over Normandy next week to commemorate the D-day landings. Jeffrey Pattinson said the training they had then was a far cry from the modern army.
– Veteran Jeffrey Pattinson
My course was eight jumps, six from a tethered balloon, and then two from an aircraft. Once you had done you eight, you were a parachutist.
On June 5, the skies over Normandy will once again be filled with parachutes. This time as the men of 16 air assault brigade play their part in what will be a spectacular tribute to the veterans who went before them.