Harry Billinge and the new Gold Beach Memorial

Discussion in 'All Anniversaries' started by bamboo43, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    son of a rat and Tony56 like this.
  2. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    D-Day veteran Harry Billinge appointed MBE

    The 94-year-old has been appointed MBE for services to charitable fundraising

    A D-Day veteran who raised more than £25,000 towards the cost of building a national memorial honouring his fallen comrades has become an MBE.
    Harry Billinge, 94, said he was accepting the honour in memory of the "fellas that never came back".
    He was presented with the honour by the Queen during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

    Mr Billinge from St Austell, Cornwall was 18 when he landed on Gold Beach on June 6, 1944.
    "It was hell on earth. Murder. The sea was red with blood, human blood," he said.
    Mr Billinge, who has dedicated much of his life to fundraising, said the memory of the servicemen killed during D-Day had "never left him".
    "I never expected any medal for collecting a few pounds, or a thousand pounds for the boys that never came back," he told BBC Breakfast.
    "All I set out to do, I achieved and I'm still doing it."

    The D-Day veteran said he was "very thankful" for the honour

    Speaking after the ceremony, Mr Billinge said it was "wonderful" to meet the Queen.
    "She was very, very kind. There are no words to describe it."
    The veteran, who also holds France's highest award, the Legion d'Honneur, is well-known for his charity work in Cornwall, where he has collected for the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal for more than 60 years.

    image.png Mr Billinge has actively supported the Normandy Memorial Trust, visiting the site of the memorial above Gold Beach where he landed in 1944

    In June 2019 he travelled to Normandy to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

    He went to see the unveiling of the first foundation stones of a memorial to remember those who served in the British forces during the war.
  4. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    A wonderful moment with Her Majesty there.
  5. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Anybody know what unit he was with? I have read that he says he was a Royal Engineer in the Commandos and landed on Gold Beach at 6.30 am with the 2nd Bn South Wales Borderers. I would like to understand what is right/wrong here... Something is wrong!
  6. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    Harry was RE and landed in the first wave alongside others: that could be the cause of any confusion and/or conflation.
    As he told me a few months ago 'it was my job to blow stuff up. If someone said "go blow it up" I'd go blow it up'. His first big target was, apparently, the Radar Station above Gold Beach.
  7. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    But he also states that he landed with the 2nd Bn South Wales Borderers and they were not first wave, hence my question.
  8. sheila and richard

    sheila and richard Well-Known Member

    very moving photos of a brave and modest man
    sheila and richard
  9. Gold

    Gold Member

    I think he was in the 81st RE squadron alongside with the 50th ID

    He told me that he was on the first wave but he wasn't with the 2nd SWB for sure.
    sheila and richard likes this.
  10. sheila and richard

    sheila and richard Well-Known Member

    Good News, we have received an email from Normandy Memorial Trust informing us that construction work resumes on the Ver-Sur-Mer site following easing of restrictions in France after 2 month shutdown caused by the coronavirus.
    dizzy and she

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