Ron joined the Royal Engineers in August 1940 and, as part of the 79th Armoured Division, landed on Juno Beach at H-Hour on D-Day making him one of the very first soldiers to storm the beaches.

He was in an AVRE (Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers) Churchill tank and their job was to make sure that gaps could be made for tanks to come ashore and support the infantry.

Ron remembers the months spent training for the invasion: "Although the plans for D-Day were kept secret, all of us knew what we were up to and that liberating France was our overall objective. We trained for every possible scenario we could face, practiced climbing over sea walls, training with gadgets and vehicles designed to clear defences on the beaches.”

“I still remember it very clearly but definitely wouldn’t want to do it all again. I was a demolition NCO and if things needed to be blown away it was my job to get out and do it.”

Ron was discharged as a Corporal in 1946, after which he returned to Gosport to work at Haslar Hospital as an Occupational Therapist for 37 years. He developed and built up the Occupational Therapy Department over a long career and received an MBE for his work at the hospital.

75 years on from D-Day, Ron now suffers from age-related macular degeneration, and since 2012, he has been supported by Blind Veterans UK.

Ron says: “Blind Veterans UK are marvellous. Seven years ago I couldn’t write a letter anymore because my sight had got so bad. But I went on a Blind Veterans UK IT course and they have given me all the training and equipment I need to carry on.

Ron with his case worker Kirsty
With his magnifier, Ron is now able to enjoy reading again
"I'd thrown out my computer years ago because I couldn't see the screen, but Blind Veterans UK showed me how I could use a PC even with my sight loss. I bet there aren't many blokes my age who can use a computer, even with their sight!"

In 2016, Ron was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur for his part in the liberation of France at a special ceremony during a lunch organised by our charity.

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