D-Day veteran Jim Radford of Veterans For Peace sings his song “The Shores of Normandy” at his own 90th birthday party.
Jim served aboard the rescue tugboat “Empire Larch” and was the youngest participant in the Allied invasion force.
In April 1944 the Empire Larch was assigned to “Operation Corncob” in preparation for the coming invasion of France and sailed from Hull to join the convoy which collected the ships which were to be used to form the breakwaters for the Mulberry Harbour. On 6 June 1944 she crossed the channel from Poole to join the Normandy invasion fleet and arrived in the evening off Arromanches (Gold Beach) to scuttle her tow. She ran aground on the morning of 7 June (while still under artillery fire from a German shore battery) and was towed off a sandbar by a US Navy tug.
Jim went on to serve in the Royal Navy and has been active in the anti-war movement for decades.
Jim Radford served in the Merchant Navy and the Royal Navy, he is a member of VFP UK.
Read and share our series of Never Again articles
Register for our Annual Gathering
My father Douglas Stuart Begbie, now deceased, would have loved to hear this song as he became a pacifist. He served as a rear gunner, in a Halifax bomber in bomber command. He was devastated when he realised what he had been part of when Hamburg and Dresden were bombed and what happened afterwards. The after effects of being a rear gunner made him feel trapped inside buildings and small places. This stayed with him all his life, his final year in a nursing home 2017.
An honest and heartfelt song, written and sung by one of the best blokes I have been drunk with.