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Veteran recalls D-Day landing
6:00am Monday 19th May 2014 in News
A Second World War veteran has spoken of his memory of taking part in the D-Day landings.
Fred Glover, from Brighton, was speaking ahead of the 70th anniversary of the event next month.
When 18-year-old Fred Glover volunteered in May 1944 for a "special operation", he had no idea he was to become part of a military invasion that would change history.
On June 6, 1944, the daring mission for Mr Glover and his comrades in the 6th Airborne Division was to silence the guns before the first seaborne troops hit Sword Beach.
Mr Glover, 88, of Brighton said the hours and minutes which ticked down towards the start of their operation seemed like a lifetime
To help time pass, the crew checked and re-checked their weapons, played cards using French liberation currency and drank endless cups of tea.
But then the time came for them to board trucks to take them to a Dorset airfield and reality struck about what lay ahead.
On the runway stood three Albermarle tugs along with the Horsa gliders that would send the men into war.
As they crossed the coast of France, the glider pilot jettisoned the tow-rope, sending the glider into free flight.
But there was not the expected flares to light up the battery and as the Horsa glided down to the gun casements several men were hit by anti-aircraft fire, including Mr Glover who was wounded in both legs.
He said: "Just at the crucial moment, the glider pilot lifted the glider over the minefield and crashed into the corner of a small orchard smack-bang into a German patrol that was coming to reinforce the defenders of the battery.
"Within no time we were in a firefight with this patrol but due to the thoroughness of our training, there was no bewilderment or anything.
"We just crashed the glider, got out of it, took cover and returned fire. Bear in mind that all this happened just a couple of hours after leaving the peace and quiet of the English countryside.”
Feeling blood in his boots after the Germans withdrew, Mr Glover's wounds were dressed, but as he tried to follow his comrades to their next objective, he felt unable to go on.
He eventually underwent an operation to remove metal fragments from his legs at a German Field Hospital and was transferred to a Parisian hospital, which he eventually escaped from by dropping out of a 14ft window.
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