Jerry served as a Rifleman with the 9th Cameronians and landed in Normandy nine days after D-Day. He lost his sight in Normandy as a result of being wounded by a bullet from a sniper.
Jerry joined Blind Veterans UK (then known as St Dunstan’s) later in 1944. His uncle, Danny, had also been one of our blind veterans, having served with the Royal Munster Fusiliers and lost his sight in France in 1915. He came to our wartime base for our training and rehabilitation activities in Church Stretton, Shropshire. He also enjoyed the music activities which were popular there.
Jerry married Patricia in 1949 and they went on to have five children. With our support he was able to take part many activities, including playing in our music band at our Brighton centre, and as a member of our archery team.
Jerry later recalled his experiences in Normandy: "It was a pleasure to get off the boat because we’d been down below where there was the stench of diesel oil. I was lucky enough to get on land without getting my feet wet, which was just as well because I couldn’t swim. There were some people going in up to their waists and others were climbing on to these American landers and then on to land. The beaches were quiet at that time.
"We were involved in the advance to Cheux and took a bit of a pounding, there were heavy casualties. I remember trying to dig in by a church and there was a sniper in the bell tower. There were 88mm shells dropping as were moving forward. I went round a hedge and there were three bodies just piled up…"
"The last thing I remember is being pinned down in a ditch by a sniper. They gave the order to retreat and put in a mortar barrage and smoke. I can remember getting up and hearing the shot – but I don’t remember the hit. I was out for a fortnight. I woke up in hospital and they told me I’d been flown home."Jerry
In June 1984 Jerry returned to Normandy for the 40th anniversary of D-Day. He said he had enjoyed the visit more than his first time there! In 1994 he had a surprise reunion at our Brighton centre with a former member of the 9th Cameronians, who got in touch with us after Jerry’s story had featured in a newspaper article. Willie Bogle had been with Jerry in Normandy, and was reunited with him 50 years later. Willie said "I saw Jerry being carried away, and I have wondered ever since what happened to him."
Jerry died in 2015 at the age of 91.