A 92-year-old D-Day veteran who was born in Spalding has made a poignant return to Normandy.
Eddie Hall had joined the Royal Navy aged 17 and was part of the armada escort during the famous landings in June 1944.
Eddie recalls that he and his mates were given a moral boosting talk from their skipper, who told them: “ Some of you may not be coming back, but I expect every man to do his duty”.
However, D-Day took the Germans by complete surprise and there was no attack on the armada on the journey to Normandy. Although Eddie helped ensure the safe arrival of the armada he does not see himself as a hero.
He says the real heroes are “the soldiers who were on the beaches”. However, without Eddie and others, those soldiers may not have even reached the beaches in the first place.
Eddie married his childhood sweetheart Dorothy in September 1945, in Peterborough, and went on to have two children, Diana and David.
He worked on the railways after the war and later worked in engineering for the food industry, ending his career as an estimator, retiring in 1987.
Eddie and his family remained in Peterborough and it was always in the back of Eddie’s mind to return to Normandy and especially to Arromanches, home to the Mulberry Harbour, as this was where his boat patrolled.
Eddie, Dorothy and son David, returned to Normandy in April thanks to the Royal British Legion’s Remembrance Travel’s LIBOR-funded tours for D-Day veterans, and was able to revisit Mulberry Harbour. Eddie said the six-day tour was “just wonderful”.
He said: “Everywhere we went people wanted to talk to us. A group of school children in the hotel where we were staying wanted to know what my medals were for. I told them my stories and they were in tears thanking me.”
Eddie’s son David said: “It was lovely to see dad being so appreciated for what he had done so many years ago and to also see the camaraderie between the veterans.”