The magnificent seven: D-Day veterans reveal their thoughts on 75th anniversary

Mail Online | 6/6/2019 | Sam Greenhill Chief Reporter In Ver-sur-mer For The Daily Mail
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Theresa May and President Macron gave heartfelt personal thanks to seven D-Day heroes yesterday at the inauguration of a long-awaited British memorial.

The Prime Minister gripped the hands of the seven and told each one: 'Thank you for what you did.'

Leader - English - Survivors - Guests - Honour

The French leader spoke in English to the seven survivors who were the guests of honour at the emotional ceremony overlooking Gold Beach.

Some were in tears as they gazed at the sands they charged across 75 years ago to the hour and the day – while around them their friends were cut down by German gunfire.

Harry - Billinge - St - Austell - Cornwall

But one of the seven, Harry Billinge, 93, of St Austell, Cornwall, declared: 'Don't say I'm a hero. I was lucky. The heroes are the ones who are dead.'

The seven men were back yesterday to help unveil a magnificent statue which is the centrepiece of the project to create a British Normandy Memorial.

Officer - Frigate - HMS - Mounsey - Ronald

A petty officer on the frigate HMS Mounsey, Ronald Clements helped protect troops as they approached the beaches.

He dropped depth charges on U-boats with 'little success', including one which had sunk an Allied troop ship and was later destroyed by a Canadian warship.

Mr - Clements - Whitstable - Kent - Ship

Mr Clements, of Whitstable, Kent, said he was not scared, despite heavy shelling around the ship. Now 98, he said it was 'fantastic' that the memorial was being built.

Harry Billinge says he is very lucky to be alive, because he was in the first wave ashore on Gold Beach at 6.30am on D-Day, as an 18-year-old Royal Engineer.

Mr - Billinge - Cockney - Cornwall - Years

Mr Billinge, 93, a Cockney who has lived in Cornwall for 70 years, has raised £10,000 for the memorial, collecting in St Austell.

He said: 'When I heard about the monument I thought, 'This is what I've been kept for – to collect for that'. I shan't be going again, I...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
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