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D-Day 80th Anniversary: 102 Year Old Ron Shares His Experiences

Ron Lawrence, a resident at Deer Park View in Teddington, is a remarkable 102-year-old Normandy veteran whose vivid memories of D-Day have become a source of inspiration and pride for his family and friends.

Ron was one of the brave soldiers who “got his feet wet” during the historic landings on 6th June, 1944. The journey to France began on the evening of 5th June, with Ron and his comrades arriving at daybreak. He was in the second wave of men to land on Sword Beach, transported there in a landing craft tank. As a member of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), Ron stayed on the beach for several weeks, tirelessly repairing vehicles essential to the ongoing operations.

Sword Beach was divided into Queen White and Queen Red zones, a detail that led to a popular joke among the soldiers: “Red, white and queen.” Despite the seriousness of their mission, the soldiers found moments of levity in their shared experiences. During his time on the beach, Ron found shelter in captured German dugouts.

In the days leading up to the landings, while stationed in the south of England, Ron and his friends often struggled with hunger. One lucky day, they encountered a kind American GI who shared some tinned peaches with them, a small but significant act of kindness. Ron didn’t stay hungry for long, though. During the rough crossing to France, many soldiers became seasick and couldn’t eat their rations. However, Ron, an experienced lighterman like his father, was unaffected by the turbulent seas. Lightermen were skilled in transferring cargo from ship to dock using engineless crafts that relied on the tide.

“Ron has spoken a bit to me recently about the landings as I’ve been talking to him about the 80th Anniversary. It’s so important to do this as there aren’t many of them left,” said Ron’s daughter Christine Lawrence, highlighting the importance of preserving these firsthand accounts.

To honour Ron and the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Deer Park View will be hosting a series of commemorative events. The highlight will be a special party with special guest The Mayor of Richmond, Councillor Richard Pyne, complete with themed food, including tinned peaches—a tribute to Ron’s cherished memory. Ron’s family is traveling from near and far to join the celebration, eager to share in this significant milestone.

 

 

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