D-Day 80 The Last Veterans: Marion Loveland

Marion Loveland, Age 102, Women's Royal Naval Service 

Interviewed 3 April 2024

A Wren third officer at HMS Collingwood in Hampshire at the time of the invasion, Mrs Loveland’s fiancé was killed on D-Day and she read the news of his death several days later while she was at work. 

Alec Aldis was a Royal Marine Commando and among the first troops to storm Sword Beach in a motor torpedo boat.

His body was never found. 

Mrs Loveland said: "He was a permanent Royal Marine officer, not just wartime.

"No known grave but the sea, and I tried to find out and talk to people that were with him and there is very little.

"They did tell me there was an awful lot of smoke and you couldn’t see from one to another on the beach."

The two had been going out for some time but Mrs Loveland’s father was a senior Naval officer.

Therefore Alec, who had received the Military Medal while serving in Crete, had wanted to wait before proposing.

The day of Operation Overlord - 6 June, was Marion Loveland’s birthday Credit: ITV Meridian

"He had said ‘Get leave at Christmas,'" Mrs Loveland said. 'I'll take you to meet my parents, and we'll make it official’.

"We kept it secret because of my father's rank. He wouldn't go and ask my father to marry me until he felt secure and had a good rank.

"When I look back, I think what a lovely man he was.

"I didn’t know until one or two days after. Really it was such a shock when I found out about Alec.

"I was devastated. I think we had a list of people that were killed in the depot. And when I saw it, it really shook me. It changed my life. I was so unhappy to have lost him.

"It was so sad."

The day of Operation Overlord - 6 June - was Mrs Loveland’s birthday. She did have time in the evening for a brief celebration.

"There was great rejoicing that we had invaded," she added.

"I remember going for breakfast in the wardroom and hearing on the radio that we had invaded.

"Then gradually bits and pieces of news of how things had gone, they became evident."

Later when she was working for an oil company Mrs Loveland began corresponding with a man who had served in Burma during the war. 

She said: "When he came home he asked to meet me and we got on very well. We had a very good life."

They married and had a son.

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