D-Day veterans and their families congregated in the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds this morning to mark the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings.
James Palfrey, 94, who served with the 49th (West Riding) Division, read aloud the Ode of Remembrance before Les Cooke lay a wreath on the memorial alongside fellow Normandy veterans Patrick Adams, William Rice and Frederick Tuck.
James sailed out of Tilbury for D-Day but his ship was left a ‘lame duck’ after it was hit by a bomb.
He said: “It hit us mid-ship and finished in the coal boilers.
“If it had gone off it would have split the ship in half - but luckily it didn’t.
“The Royal Engineers went down to deal with the bomb and to take the fuse out of it.
“I think every man cheered when it was finally thrown overboard.
“But it had damaged the ship’s steering gear and we were left a lame duck.
“I was 24 when I landed in Normandy and am 94 now.
“I am lucky in a way to see the 70th anniversary.”
Frederick Tuck was among those who stormed the beeches on June 6 1944.
He said it was important that we remember the brave men who gave their lives for their country.
“It is nice to know people still think of us after all these years. “There are still a lot of people who come out and are part of that.
“It is a good thing to keep it going.”
Click here to read 90-year-old Royal Engineer Sam Palmer’s experiences of D-Day.