In the thick of ac­tion in France

Do you want to ad­ver­tise in this sup­ple­ment? Email james.king-sharp@trin­i­tymir­ for ad­vice A for­mer sol­dier has a rare claim to fame as a re­sult of his ex­pe­ri­ences dur­ing the Sec­ond World War. Com­mu­nity ed­i­tor Mort Smith went to meet the veteran to

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and French troops to fall back to­wards the coast, Ray­mond joined the some­what dis­or­gan­ised throng head­ing for Dunkirk.

“We weren’t too sure where we were go­ing,” he says. “We just hoped we were head­ing in the right di­rec­tion.”

He re­calls the troops de­stroy­ing their equip­ment so as not to leave any­thing of value for the ad­vanc­ing Wehrma­cht.

Even­tu­ally, he joined the tens of thou­sands of ex­hausted ser­vice­men on the beaches around the sea­port wait­ing to be res­cued by one of the fleet of ships, both mil­i­tary and civil­ian, that were fer­ry­ing troops back to Bri­tain.

He says: “I don’t re­ally re­mem­ber how it hap­pened but I got shot in the leg and when our turn came to be res­cued, I had to be car­ried off the beach.

“When I got back to Eng­land, I spent five weeks in hos­pi­tal and was then sent back to the same unit in the RASC.”

After four years of fight­ing, the in­va­sion of Europe by the al­lies fi­nally ma­te­ri­alised and the RASC had a vi­tal role in en­sur­ing that the fight­ing units hit­ting the beaches had ev­ery­thing they needed to com­plete

After the war, Ray­mond went back to col­lege to com­plete his ed­u­ca­tion and qual­ify as an ar­chi­tect, which led to a suc­cess­ful ca­reer.

He still lives in Ger­rards Cross, where he was born, and is an ac­tive mem­ber of the lo­cal branch of the Royal Bri­tish Le­gion.

Do you have any fam­ily sto­ries about ex­pe­ri­ences dur­ing wartime years? If you’d like to share them, email mort.smith@ trin­i­tymir­

RAY­MOND Glenny was just 17 years old when the World War started. He was al­ready in the Ter­ri­to­rial Army and vol­un­teered to join the fight against the Nazis. He was as­signed to the Royal Army Ser­vice Corps (RASC), the in­sti­tu­tion re­spon­si­ble for or­gan­is­ing trans­port and sup­ply for all front-line units.

Now past his 90th birth­day, Ray­mond, of Mar­sham Way, Ger­rards Cross, has trou­ble re­call­ing all the de­tails of his ser­vice life but one thing he re­mem­bers quite clearly is that he was one of those lucky enough to be res­cued from the beaches of Dunkirk in June 1940. He was also one of the first to land on the beaches of Nor­mandy four years later.

On both oc­ca­sions, he was shot and wounded.

Ray­mond says: “We were sent over to France with the Bri­tish Ex­pe­di­tionary Force and, for sev­eral months, it was very quiet – the pe­riod known as the ‘phoney war’.”

When the Ger­mans launched their Blitzkreig of­fen­sive in the spring of 1940, slic­ing through the al­lied lines in France and Bel­gium, and forc­ing Bri­tish the job suc­cess­fully. Ray­mond and his unit landed on Sword beach on June 6, 1944.

“I don’t re­mem­ber be­ing scared – we were told where to go and we just fol­lowed or­ders,” he says.

“I ran up the beach with the rest of my unit but I was shot in the right shoul­der. I went on for a bit but even­tu­ally they de­cided I needed treat­ment and I was sent back to hos­pi­tal.”

D-Day veteran Ray­mond Glenny

Land­ing craft un­load vi­tal equip­ment and ma­te­ri­als dur­ing the D-Day land­ings

Left, the in­signia of the Royal Army Ser­vice Corps

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