A D-Day hero took a trip to London by royal appointment as part of a series of events to mark the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings.
Jack Bracewell and his daughter Lynne Shelling were invited to the capital by the Not Forgotten Association.
The pair attended the Queen’s Garden Party as well as taking a trip to Chelsea Flower Show for the opening of the D-Day Garden with D-Day Revisited, a charity that takes veterans over to France for the D-Day remembrance services, who have created the garden in partnership with multi-award winning designer John Everiss.
Today, June 6, marks 75 years since the D-Day landings – the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War Two. Allied forces launched a combined naval, air and land assault on Nazi-occupied France in the largest seaborne invasion in history.
With a huge force of more than 150,000 soldiers, the Allies attacked and gained a victory that became the turning point for World War Two in Europe.
And for Jack, this week was a time for reflection on what he went through and remembering friends who didn’t come home.
Jack, who lives in Morecambe with Lynne, served during the war as a young man. His part in the landings earned him the Legion d’Honneur medal, France’s highest military honour.
Jack was a driver in the Royal Army Service Corps when he landed at Gold Beach on D-Day on June 6 1944, having been called up at the age of 19.
“I am just an ordinary bloke, I just did what hundreds of others did,” he said. “I came through it and I was lucky, I don’t doubt that. We lost a lot of good lads.”
Lynne said: “The garden has now been gifted to the town of Arromanches where dad landed on Gold Beach, so it was very moving for him.
“I find it vey emotional and hope to take his five great-grandchildren to Normandy to see where he landed.
“The visit to Buckingham Palace was lovely but for dad and I the highlight of our trip was the garden. Dad attended with four other D-Day veterans and they were given VIP reserved seating, afternoon tea and strawberries and cream.”
It had been hoped that Jack would also visit Normandy again this week, but he was unable to do so due to feeling unwell.
Lynne said: “Dad is now 96 years old and will very likely not return to France as he has done in the past due to age and failing health, so this trip was hugely important to him and an opportunity to have time in the garden in quiet reflection.”