ON this special anniversary of the D-Day landings I thought you may be interested to read the memories of my father Derek Williams of Blackheath who was a dispatch motorcycle rider with the Royal Artillery.
He writes: We boarded a ship called the Park Benjamin and sailed down the Thames at night rounding the Kent coast into the Channel.
About a mile off Normandy our ship stopped and a landing craft came alongside and nets were lowered over the side for us to get down.
Our bikes were lowered in by the ship's crane. The landing craft took us in until there was four feet of water under the bow and then we were ordered to get off. The skipper was afraid to go in further as there were shells dropping around us and he was afraid of being beached. We jumped into the water and carried the bikes over our heads – four men to a bike. That meant we all had to go back four times to get the bikes off. How many others made four Normandy beach landings?
My father sadly died five years ago and we are thrilled that in his latter years he made time to type out his wartime memories so that we have a lasting record.
His photograph on his army motorbike takes pride of place on our hall table.