War hero’s journey back to Normandy
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