Cornish veteran remembers 'terror and excitement' of D-Day as he prepares for Remembrance parade

  • Watch an extended version of Sam Blackledge's interview with John Westlake

A 99-year-old D-Day veteran from Cornwall says he still remembers the fear and excitement of crossing the Channel to Normandy in 1944.

Former RAF aircraft fitter John Westlake is getting ready to head to London for this weekend's Remembrance parade.

He says it's as important as ever that people pause to remember all those who have lost their lives in conflict.

John and his daughter, Rita, will join the remembrance parade on Sunday. Credit: ITV News

"When we crossed the Channel (ahead of the D-Day landings) we were told that if we should get hit, we should inflate our lifejackets, and every man would be looking after himself and his fellow soldiers.

"And when we landed on the beach, we were told that if anybody dropped down in front of us we've got to walk over them, leave them to the people on the beach to look after them, and we've got to achieve what we're told to achieve.

"We were scared, very scared. But we were also excited. And the excitement I think overcame the fear."

John was just short of his 18th birthday when he signed up. Credit: Family photo

This Sunday, John and his daughter Rita, who herself served in the army, will join the veterans' parade in central London.

Rita said: "There were so many young men like him, and that generation is fading now.

"Going up to remembrance weekend is really important to both of us because we can actually march together.

"I really take my hat off to anyone who feels strong enough to stand up for their country", she added.