Morecambe war hero to visit Buckingham Palace for D-Day anniversary celebrations

Jack Bracewell.
Jack Bracewell.

World War Two veteran Jack Bracewell will be mixing with royalty at a special event to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

The war hero has been chosen to attend a series of events next month, including a garden party at Buckingham Palace.

Great-grandad Jack, now 96, will make the trip to London along with his daughter Lynne Shelling.

Other events include a trip to Chelsea flower show, tea with the Chelsea pensioners and a visit to the D-Day memorial garden.

Jack will also make an emotional trip to Normandy in June as part of the anniversary celebrations.

He has previously visited as part of the Return to Normandy initiative, visiting Gold Beach – where he landed on D-Day – as well as taking trips to Pegasus, Sword and Juno beaches and Arromanches.

During the trip, Jack was presented with his Legion d’Honneur medal by the mayor of Caen – the highest available merit for the military which was founded by Napoleon Bonaparte to recognise eminent accomplishment in the service to France.

Jack was a driver in the Royal Army Service Corps when he landed at Gold Beach on D-Day on June 6 1944.

Born in Bradford in 1922, Jack was called up to the forces at the age of 19, joining a group of fellow Yorkshiremen training as drivers with the Armoured Division.

Jack’s troop landed at Gold Beach near Bayeux on D-Day, before eventually moving inland towards Belgium and Holland.

His job was to deliver supplies such as rations and ammunition to other troops, mostly on motorbikes or in wagons.

“We were constantly delivering supplies to all the lads, “ he said. “We didn’t know what a bed was for a long time. We just slept when and where we could. It was certainly an experience. We just did what we had to do.

“I am just an ordinary bloke, I just did what hundreds of others did.

“I came through it and I was lucky, I don’t doubt that.

“We lost a lot of good lads.”

The troop finally arrived in Germany at the end of the war, and remained in the Plön district of Schleswig for two to three months before being demobbed in Luneburg in October 1946.

Jack went on to join a paratroop regiment with a childhood friend, and remained in service for another eight or nine years.

He later worked on the buses, where he met his future wife Dot, and the pair married after just six weeks when they were both 27.

They went on to have a daughter, Lynne. The family moved to Morecambe, where Jack took a job with a firm based at Heysham Port.

Dot sadly died in 2011, and Jack now lives with his daughter Lynne in Ellesmere Road.

He has three grandsons and five great-grandchildren.

Read all about Jack’s experience of World War Two and watch a video here