Veterans mark D-Day

By David Newble

Friday, June 6, 2014

 

Veterans mark D-Day

Ian Gordon as he was at the time of D-Day in 1944 and now, pictured with his medals.

A FORMER Isle of Wight County Press reporter will be among the D-Day veterans marking today's (Friday) 70th anniversary of D-Day.

Ian Gordon was conscripted into the Royal Navy as a naval communications coder, deciphering Morse code transmissions, in 1943.

The following year he found himself on board HMS Lawford, the headquarters ship for Assault Group 1 Force 1 at Juno beach — one of the five beaches to be assaulted by Allied troops on June 6, 1944.

The ship played a central role in the landings, but two days later the ship was sunk (as pictured below) following a successful attack by enemy aircraft while it was anchored off Normandy.

Mr Gordon, now 88, of Alverstone Garden Village, said: "We lost over 30 out of the crew.

"There were nine of us holding on to a rolled-up scrambling net. We had to kick to get away from the ship as it was sinking.

"We were worried we might get an E-boat — a German fast attack craft — warning and the other ships would clear off and leave us.

"We were picked up by a minesweeper. They dropped a ladder down the side but my fingers were so numb I had difficulty grabbing hold."

As well as his service during D-Day, he recently received the Arctic Star for the heroism he and fellow servicemen showed in the Arctic convoys.

He is due to take part in a D-Day commemoration service which is set to take place in Portsmouth today (Friday).

Another serviceman who took part in the landings is in France today, preparing to take part in the D-Day  commemorations.

Doug Adams, now 90, of Brookfield Gardens, Ryde, landed at Normandy on 'D plus 7’ and will be taking part in a veterans event due to take place in Normandy.

At least 19 heads of state will be attending, including the Queen and US President Barack Obama.

Read more about Islanders' memories of D-Day in today's Isle of Wight County Press, Friday, June 6.

HMS Lawford

Reporter: davidn@iwcpmail.co.uk

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