A Scottish war veteran who played a vital role during the D-day landings has paid tribute to those who gave their lives ahead of the battle’s 80th anniversary.
Albert Lamond, 98, is cared for by Erskine Veterans Charity at the Veteran’s Village, Bishopton, Renfrewshire.
On November 11, the anniversary of D-day, veterans, residents and carers across Erskine’s network of homes will come together to honour those who gave their lives during the conflict.
Mr Lamond will be focused on the events of June 6 1944, where he watched from the sea as the battle raged on the beaches of Normandy, marking the start of the liberation of Western Europe from the Nazis.
A member of the Royal Navy, Mr Lamond was just 18 when he joined in 1943.
He served as a signalman on the HMS Rowley, and was asked to rendezvous with the HMS Warspite as it voyaged to Normandy.
HMS Rowley’s role was to circle the Warspite while it shelled German forces.
Mr Lamond and his crew kept an eye open for U-boats who may have fired torpedoes at the warship.
He stood watch from the bridge during the battle with no cover to defend himself from incoming fire. He says the horrors that he witnessed have stayed with him ever since.
He said: ‘D-Day was something different. It is still very difficult to talk about. It wasn’t very nice – you could say that.
‘We could see all the men trying to get ashore, not knowing what was waiting for them.
‘All we could do was watch, hoping to defend as many of them as we possibly could.
‘We understood the importance of what we were doing and why we had to do it. But it didn’t make it any better.’
He added: ‘It lives with you forever, but it doesn’t get any easier. I went back to Normandy a few years ago, that was difficult but also a real honour.
‘Realistically, there can’t be many of us left. When I looked out at the beaches, I thought to myself, how many of us are still here? Did all those men see the war through? Did anything happen to my crew after D-Day?
‘I wonder what direction their lives took. There are constantly on my mind, not just on Remembrance Day, but every single day.’
Mr Lamond was awarded many medals during his years of service, including the Arctic Star.
Mr Lamond left the Navy following the Second World War, and went on to work on a railway, eventually retiring around 40 years later as a railway driver.
He said: ‘The work that Erskine does for so many veterans is amazing. Without Erskine, many veterans would struggle either post-service or in later life. I cannot speak highly enough of what they have done for me.
‘They have provided me with a level of care that is second to none and given me the opportunity to make friends and met people who have shared similar experiences.
‘They truly support our veterans, regardless of age and background, and I would encourage anyone to support them if they can.’
Wing Commander Ian Cumming, Erskine chief executive, said: ‘It is our privilege and duty to honour and support heroes like Albert Lamond, who selflessly risked their lives for our freedom.
‘As we approach the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by an entire generation.
‘We are dedicated to ensuring that their needs are met, and their stories are never forgotten, whilst also expanding our services to support younger Veterans of more recent conflicts.’