ON June 6, a group of Glasgow veterans will gather on a Normandy beach to remember those who lost their lives in the D-Day landings, 80 years ago this week.

It will be a moment of sadness and reflection, explains Terry McCourt, secretary of the West of Scotland branch of the Parachute Regimental Association, but also, and most importantly, of admiration and respect.

“Lest we forget,” says Terry, simply.


“Around 35 veterans and family members are going to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, and we will be taking a letter and a gift of a bottle of whisky from the Lord Provost of Glasgow to the Mayor of Caen.”

Lord Provost Jacqueline McLaren’s letter explains it is “a message of friendship and peace.”

She writes: “Our Glasgow delegation from the Parachute Regimental Association have kindly agreed to pass on this letter and a small gift from the City of Glasgow.

“This visit will mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944 when Allied forces mounted the largest invasion the world has ever witnessed and this visit is one of remembrance and respect.

“The bravery and sacrifice of those people is why we are able to secure the peace and freedom we enjoy today. We will never forget those lost, the real heroes that we must and will always remember.”

Glasgow Times: The parade made its way through Knightswood after a moving service at the veterans' monument.

D-Day was the successful Allied invasion of the beaches of Normandy – Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword - on June 6, 1944.

Codenamed Operation Neptune, the Normandy landings made up the largest seaborne invasion in history involving the coordinated efforts of more than 155,000 troops supported by 11,500 aircraft, and 6900 naval vessels.


It changed the course of history, as it marked the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. Allied forces fought to liberate key cities, such as Caen, and established a secure front from which they could launch further offensives, leading to the liberation of Paris, the push towards Germany, and, ultimately, to victory.

The group from Glasgow will also visit Douvres-la-Delivrande Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery where Private James McPhilemy is laid to rest. The 20-year-old from Possilpark was killed in action on June 17, 1944.

The British Normandy Memorial website explains: “James left school at 15 to work for Yarrows Shipbuilders in Yoker, Glasgow as an apprentice metal sheet worker.

“He was proud to have signed up for the King’s Own Scottish Borderers and his brothers and sisters were also proud of him whenever he was home on leave wearing his uniform.”

All over the UK, 80th anniversary commemorations are taking place to honour the brave soldiers who risked their lives for freedom and peace.

Veterans’ charity Erskine is urging supporters to mark the anniversary by walking, running or swimming 80 miles in June to raise £80 – more details are available from the website.

Glasgow Times: Jamie Williamson/Erskine Veterans Charity Undated handout photo issued by Erskine Veterans Charity

Albert Lamond, 98, has been a resident at the Erskine Home in Bishopton since last year.

He watched from the sea as the battle raged on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. Albert joined the navy in 1942, just after his 17th birthday.

He began his career as a signalman on the frigate HMS Rowley, and quickly saw action in the Atlantic, the Arctic convoys and at D-Day.

The HMS Rowley’s role was to circle the HMS Warspite while she was shelling German positions. Albert and his crew were constantly watching for U-Boats looking to torpedo the warship, acting as a first line of defence as the Allies launched their assault on sea, land and air.

As signalman, Albert was on the lookout from the bridge throughout the battle, with no cover to defend him. The horrors that he witnessed have lived with him ever since.

“D-Day is very difficult to talk about, it wasn’t very nice – you could say that,” he told the Glasgow Times last year.

“We could see all the men trying to get ashore, not knowing what was waiting for them.

"All we could do was watch, hoping to defend as many of them as we possibly could.

"We understood the importance of what we were doing and why we had to do it. But it didn’t make it any better.”

Albert was awarded many medals from his years of service, including the Arctic Star, which commemorated the Arctic Convoys that sailed from North Russia, and the Légion d’honneur, awarded by the French government to D-Day veterans, as a way of honouring and thanking those who fought and risked their lives to secure France’s liberation during the Second World War.