'If anyone said they weren't scared they were liars': 97-year-old veteran Gordon shares his memories of D-Day

This Sunday marks 77 years since British soldiers fought on the beaches at Normandy on what became known as D-Day.

Tens of thousands of Allied troops arrived on the beaches in northern France on 6 June 1944 to fight Nazi German forces and take the country back.

It marked the beginning of the end of Nazi occupation in Europe during the Second World War.

While there is a dedicated memorial for other troops in Normandy, until now, there has not been one specifically for British soldiers.

But, on Sunday 6 June 2021, a memorial to honour those who lost their lives will be unveiled there.

Designed by architect Liam O'Connor, the £30 million pound memorial records the names of the 22,442 servicemen and women under British command who fell on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy in the summer of 1944.

Their names have never, until now, been brought together.

The official opening of the Memorial is the culmination of nearly six year’s work by the Normandy Memorial Trust.

The Memorial Records the names of the 22,442 British servicemen and women who fell on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy in 1944 Credit: britishnormandymemorial.org

One soldier who took part in D-Day is 97-year-old Gordon Prime from Pembroke Dock.

He served as a motorcycle dispatch rider in the Royal Army Service Corps between 1942 and 1947.

Gordon was just 20-years-old when he landed on Juno Beach in 1944.

Speaking to ITV Wales, Gordon said, "our motto was 'bash on regardless', and that's what we did, we just had to get on with it, you were all scared to death, but you wouldn't show it because you'd be letting your mates down".

Like his fellow veterans, Gordon will be unable to travel to Normandy this year to see the memorial's unveiling due to Covid-19 restrictions, but he and his comrades are invited to this year's D-Day commemoration at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, where the opening ceremony will also be streamed.

Guests will be able to watch live coverage of the opening ceremony from theMemorial site in Ver-sur-Mer together with coverage of the Royal British Legion’s service of Remembrance at The Bayeux Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery recorded earlier that morning.

There will also be an opportunity for Normandy veterans to have their Legion d’honneur formally presented to them by the French Ambassador to the UK.

Gordon (pictured far left) was a motorcycle dispatch rider with the Royal Army Service Corps between 1942 and 1947

Gordon says he does not think he will make it back to Normandy, or Staffordshire this year, but plans to watch it online.

"I'd love to see it but I don't think I'll ever go back. It'll be a wonderful thing.

"Two years ago I did a recording of my experiences and that has gone in to the memorial with more veterans and that will be shown at the visitor centre.

"I'm very proud. My two sons and my daughter they used to come back to Normandy with me and my wife of course, I used to say to the school children, 'we must remember never to forget.'