Their heroism helped change the course of the second world war, and now some of the surviving D-Day veterans have been immortalised in a series of photographs taken at the places where they fought.
Nick Archdale was with The Parachute Regiment on D-Day.
He was dropped behind enemy lines and fought to take a bridge key for the Allied advance.
"I was very lucky. A bullet hit a wall right beside my left eye and temporarily blinded me. You didn't have time to be frightened, it was cowboys and indians with real bullets."
And it's by that very wall that Nick is photographed.
He is one of 15 veterans taken back to be pictured in a place that has personal significance to their D-Day story.
Geoff Pattinson was also parachuted into occupied France. Out on patrol he came face to face with German soldiers who started shooting.
They ran into the stable for cover, but Geoff was shot and injured.
"I thought "this is it, I'm stuck here." I was expecting that any minute they were going to be right up by the door and firing straight through the opening onto the floor where I was lying."
The photographer who thought the project up has now written a book about the veterans and their stories.
Geoff and Nick will be returning to Normandy for the 70th anniversary celebrations.
Although it's painful, they know it's something they must do.
Some of the stories at least, will now be immortalised in these pictures.
Click below to watch a report from ITV News Anglia's Tanya Mercer