The Guardian

‘The sea around was red with blood, but you had to keep going’: D-day veterans attend their last big gathering

As ceremonies mark 75th anniversary of Allied landings in Normandy, two veterans tell their tales
Commandos aboard a landing craft on D-day, 6 June 1944. Photograph: Getty

Ken Peppercorn almost didn’t make it to Gold beach. He fell off the ramp of his landing craft into an underwater shell hole. “I nearly went under. I was loaded up with all the equipment – hand grenades in my pockets, magazines in my pouches, and everything else I could carry.”

The sea around him was red with blood. “It was quite a mess, but you just had to keep going.” He managed to surface and get to the beach. “We were under fire but I scrambled up the dunes and found a shell crater to shelter in. I was

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