Blind Normandy veteran Hugh Hughes from Preston stormed the beaches two days after D-Day and still met heavy resistance.
Despite the massive influx of troops over the previous 48 hours, the welcome he and his comrades from the Liverpool Scottish Regiment received was still “fairly scary”.
“We had to make sure we got off the boat quick, get over the Bailey Bridges and on to the land,” he recalled.
“During all of this we had shells going off overhead and had to navigate minefields.”
Hugh, now 96, survived the ordeal and went on to fight in the Battle of the Bulge, where German forces tried to win back territory claimed by the Allied push. But his sight loss didn’t come in war, it came with old age. He started to lose his vision 15 years ago and is now helped by Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired servicemen and women.
Hugh was called up in 1940 and joined the Liverpool Scottish Regiment.
He was sent to the South Coast to protect Britain’s borders from a potential German landing. It was a landing which didn’t come – with the tables being turned in 1944.
He explained: “In the run-up to D-Day, our most important job was making sure that the Germans couldn’t invade Britain.
“A lot of it was just us waiting on the beaches in case they landed, but fortunately they never came over.”