A song about the Allied forces landing at Normandy, written and sung by 90-year-old D-Day veteran Jim Radford has beaten songs by artists like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran on Amazon’s singles chart in the United Kingdom.
Jim Radford, who was a 15-year-old galley boy in the British Merchant Navy at the time, said he has been “overwhelmed by the response” to the song, “Shores of Normandy,” he wrote 50 years ago.
The Normandy Memorial Trust rereleased the song he penned after returning to the French beaches on the 25th anniversary of the landings to raise funds to build a memorial at the invasion site.
“I didn’t know when I went that my first trip was going to be the invasion of Europe,” Radford said. “The song is to remember the brave lads that didn’t come back.”
The youngest of three brothers who served in the British Merchant Navy, Radford was aboard a tug boat during the D-Day invasion.
He still clearly recalls the brotherhood that existed among those fighting that day.
”Your main concern is not to let your comrades down,” he said. “You’re not thinking about king or country, you’re not thinking about democracy. You’re thinking about, ‘My mates depend on me, as I depend on them.’ That stayed with me. Anyone who was in Normandy, we all feel that bond to each other. And especially to all the lads who didn’t come back.”
He now belongs to the anti-war organisation, Veterans for Peace, and hopes the song will alert a new generation to the horrors of war.
“The significance and seriousness has been forgotten,” Radford said. “I don’t think youngsters nowadays realize just how serious it was … 1 in every 4 merchant navy seamen was killed during the war.”
He said when he returned to Normandy he saw children playing where soldiers had died and tried to capture that in the song.
”And those of you who were unborn, who’ve lived in liberty, remember those who made it so on the shores of Normandy,” he sings.
Acknowledging his recent fame won’t last, he encouraged others to download the song from the trust’s website and help build the memorial.
“The message I want to get across is that we must not let this happen again,” he said.
You can download the single via the usual digital music services that can be accessed via the Normandy Memorial Trust web site: