D-day land­ings veteran Bill, 95 sup­ports char­ity

Bangor Mail - - NEWS -

A 95-year-old blind veteran is sup­port­ing new re­search by the na­tional sight loss char­ity.

Blind Vet­er­ans UK’s Iso­la­tion Sur­vey 2016, was com­mis­sioned to iden­tify any feel­ings of iso­la­tion among the UK’s blind veteran pop­u­la­tion.

Bill Evans from Holy­head, joined the Royal Ar­tillery in April 1939 when he was 18, three days be­fore the Sec­ond World War broke out.

He signed up with his brother as they wanted to Serve to­gether. How­ever, af­ter six months they were sep­a­rated as his brother was posted to In­dia.

Bill spent some time in the UK prior to de­ploy­ment to Egypt with the 8th Army, where his ship was sunk on the way to Si­cily.

He said, “The ship came un­der at­tack and caught fire, we were scared that it would ex­plode as it had so much am­mu­ni­tion on it, so we had to bail out into the sea. “I was lucky to sur­vive.” Af­ter this in­ci­dent Bill moved into Si­cily and then Italy. Later he was re­de­ployed to France where he took part in the D-day land­ings and went into Bel­gium.

His fi­nal post­ing was in Nor­way be­fore be­ing dis­charged as a Sap­per in Septem­ber 1946. He was then re­united with his brother in Sal­is­bury.

Bill suf­fers with age-re­lated mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion and in 2003 he no­ticed that his sight was de­te­ri­o­rat­ing as he kept clip­ping a gatepost when driv­ing.

He went for an eye test and was di­ag­nosed with mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion, and had to give up his driv­ing li­cense.

He had pre­vi­ously en­joyed walk­ing but was un­able to do this as much as he lost his depth per­cep­tion and could only walk out­side with a cane.

For­tu­nately, Bill found out about Blind Vet­er­ans UK and be­came a ben­e­fi­ciary of the char­ity in Au­gust 2011.

Bill says he en­joys the so­cial op­por­tu­ni­ties pro­vided, hav­ing vis­ited each of the Blind Vet­er­ans UK’s cen­tres at least three times for hol­i­days.

If you, or some­one you know, served in the Armed Forces or did Na­tional Ser­vice and are now bat­tling se­vere sight loss, find out how Blind Vet­er­ans UK could help by call­ing 0800 389 7979 or vis­it­ing www.noonealone.org.uk.

Blind veteran Bill Evans

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