War hero’s jour­ney back to Nor­mandy

The Galloway News - - NEWS - STU­ART GILLE­SPIE

A Cas­tle Dou­glas war hero is mak­ing a pil­grim­age to Nor­mandy to­day to mark the 75th an­niver­sary of the D-Day land­ings.

James Churm, who was a Royal Navy Medic, is among 300 vet­er­ans mak­ing the jour­ney as part of a trip or­gan­ised by Le­gion Scotland, Pop­pyscot­land and the Royal Bri­tish Le­gion.

The 94-year-old is one of six Scot­tish war he­roes who were pho­tographed ahead of the trip and asked to share their ex­pe­ri­ences as part of a spe­cial project to com­mem­o­rate the oc­ca­sion.

Mr Churm, who was a medic on land­ing craft and moved tanks from Ne­whaven to Sword Beach on D-Day, re­called: “My over­rid­ing feel­ing was one of ter­ri­ble trep­i­da­tion.

“No­body knew what was hap­pen­ing un­til we got there. The amount of ship­ping in the chan­nel was fan­tas­tic though; ev­ery type of ves­sel you could think of was there.”

After the war, Mr Churm em­barked on a ca­reer as a phys­io­ther­a­pist, which in­cluded a pe­riod as the physio at Black­burn Rovers Foot­ball Club.

The Scot­tish six were head­ing to na­tional com­mem­o­ra­tive events in Portsmouth yes­ter­day be­fore re­trac­ing their jour­ney across the chan­nel to­day on the spe­cially chartered MV Boudicca cruise ship.

They wi l l be i nvolved in com­mem­o­ra­tions at the Cathe­dral of Our Lady of Bayeux and at Bayeux War Ceme­tery in France.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of Le­gion Scotland, Dr Claire Arm­strong, said: “D-Day was a piv­otal mo­ment in the Sec­ond World War.

“The re­mark­able sto­ries of these six Scot­tish vet­er­ans pro­vide us with an im­por­tant re­minder of both the brav­ery and tragedy which sur­rounds that day.

“Le­gion Scotland is com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing com­rade­ship for those in the Armed Forces com­mu­nity and to en­sur­ing the mem­ory of those who fell in ser­vice to our country is re­mem­bered for­ever.

“It will be an hon­our and a priv­i­lege to host these in­cred­i­ble gen­tle­men and to recog­nise the im­mense con­tri­bu­tion of an en­tire gen­er­a­tion.”

War hero James Churm from Cas­tle Dou­glas and (right) a 20-year-old James dur­ing the war years Pic­ture: Wattie Che­ung

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