Sappers from 24 Commando Royal Engineers based in Devon paid a personal tribute to one of Britain’s few surviving D-Day veterans, at a special event held in Cornwall, on the 77th anniversary of the Normandy landings.
The much-respected green berets formed a guard of honour, to welcome 96-year-old former Royal Engineer Harry Billinge MBE to Par Market near St Austell, for a special screening of the unveiling of the British Normandy Memorial, which he helped raise money for but could not attend in person.
SSgt Martin Pyle, a permanent staff instructor at the Royal Marine Barracks, Chivenor has met Harry on numerous occasions. Once when a high-speed train was named in honour of the World War Two veteran.
He said: “For me it was an absolute honour to be here today. Harry and the other veterans are an inspiration to all who are still serving, the sacrifices they have made for us makes me so proud.
“Harry’s a larger than life character, he never tires of telling people what he and his comrades went through. He loves meeting us and came to our reunion in 2019. It’s a mutual appreciation.”