A SECOND WORLD WAR hero has written a book exploring the forgotten stories of many of his comrades.

Ken Tout joined the British Army in 1942 at the age of 18 at the height of the Second World War.

A year later the tank gunman was one of the thousands of Allied troops to land on the Normandy beaches as part of the D-Day operations.

Now the 95-year-old has written a book detailing the heroic actions of some of the British Army’s most unassuming characters.

Ken, who lives in Rustington, said: “If you had somebody in your squadron who was inclined to tell you how tough he was then you learned to be wary of them.

“It was always the quiet man who would stand up when you needed someone to do something risky.”

Ken’s book, How Modest are the Bravest!, tells the stories of 22 soldiers who acted with “outstanding gallantry” throughout the war.

In many cases, Ken has met and become friends with these individuals since the end of the war, and in one instance Ken witnessed an astonishing act of bravery with his own eyes.

Ken fought alongside Ernie Wellbelove, a 20-year-old fellow gunman from Brighton.

Ken said: “He was a quiet lad, but always very cheery and friendly making him very popular with the other men.

“He was a smiling lad from Sussex.”

Ken fought alongside Ernie as the latter manned the guns of the tank that led the charge against a seemingly impenetrable German stronghold in France.

Crammed inside the cramped turret of an M4 Sherman tank, the young man single-handedly took down two German Panzer tanks with “clean, accurate shooting”.

He then took down a third which had tried to hide behind a huge haystack, carefully calculating where the tank was before firing off several pinpoint shots.

Ernie’s tank was eventually taken down by an armour piercing shell shot from a German tank which had crept behind British lines using a deep ravine.

He managed to escape from the wreckage, but was killed by machine gun fire from enemy forces.

Ernie’s story is featured in full in chapter 20 of the book.

How Modest are the Braveest! is out now.