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Over 7,000 naval vessels crossed the English Channel on D-Day. 

Not only did the Navy transport the 150,000 troops to the beaches, but they also offered vital defensive support, targeting enemy aircraft, U-boats and gun batteries along the French coast.

Meet our Navy veterans

Blind veterans Thomas, Joe and Bob all played pivotal roles, despite being teenagers at the time.

Peggy was a linguist for the Royal Navy

On the night before D-Day, Peggy was on duty alone in the direction-finding tower near Dover. Then just 22, her job was to record intercepted radio messages and take down pages of four-figure code that were sent on to be translated - she was never told where. Her work was so secret that her parents died without knowing about it. 

D-Day blind veteran Peggy young and old

Peggy's diary, 6 June 1944

Peggy kept a diary throughout the war and, although she couldn't write specifically about the work she did, it's a wonderful record of her feelings. This is an extract from D-Day itself. Her hopes for the safety of her future husband were pinned on the invasion.

Hear an extract from Peggy's D-Day diary.

George was a gunner on a torpedo boat

George’s crew escorted troop ships heading for Omaha and Utah beaches. Due to a navigation error the troops were slaughtered as they came in. Having been ordered to stay out at sea to protect against E-boats and R-boats, all George could do was sit and watch. He says today, "There’s still lots of people who think there’s fun in war. There’s no fun in war; no fun in war at all."

Read George's experience of D-Day
Blind veteran George in a suit wearing his medals and sitting in a chair

Alec defended the boats from U-boat attacks

Alec's ship was sent as cover force and he remembers feeling very sorry for the soldiers kept on board. The weather was so bad they were held for longer than planned and many of them were seasick. When the invasion started, he was listening out for torpedoes, 27 feet beneath the water line, so couldn't see what was going on. However, the bridge telephone was left open so he heard the noise of the guns and planes as the battle raged on.

Listen to Alec's WWII story
Blind veteran Alec, wearing a suit and his medals sitting in a chain and holding a cane

Fancy a D-Day treat?

On the night of 5 June, Alec was locked in, 27 feet below the water line. He remembers the joy of getting a call to say the padre was on his way, bringing him a corned beef sandwich and a cup of "kye", a very thick, cocoa-style drink.

How to make a cup of Kye

This recipe is enough for two people.

  1.  Break a small bar of plain dark chocolate into pieces.
  2.  Place pieces in a saucepan with one mug of hot water (boiled from the kettle).
  3. Heat up until the chocolate has melted.
  4. Add one tin of condensed milk.
  5. Bring to the boil and serve in mugs.

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It's been 80 years since D-Day but our blind veterans are still having to fight for their independence. Sight loss can be desperately isolating for the elderly and without the right equipment and support, our D-Day heroes will be unable to leave their homes.

Please be there for them today. 

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