D-Day veteran returns to Knutsford home after emotional journey to Normandy

Knutsford Guardian: D-Day veteran Tony with grandson Anthony D-Day veteran Tony with grandson Anthony

“It makes you proud to be British”.

Those are the humble words of D-Day veteran and Knutsfordian, Tony Colgan, who joined his comrades in commemorating the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy last week.

The 90-year-old was accompanied by his grandson Anthony Lee on the poignant journey across the channel and returned to his Mereheath home on Monday.

“The ceremony with the Queen was very moving and makes you feel proud to be British,” said Tony.

“This week has brought back thousands of memories of what went on during my time in Normandy - one being losing 220 fellow soldiers of the 9th Durham Light Infantry in one battle.”

Tony, who was born in the London Borough of Lambeth, joined the army at the tender age of 18 and fought in Scilly before D-Day.

In July 1943, Tony joined 3” Mortar Platoon 9th Battalion of Durham Light Infantry and returned to England in October 1943 to prepare for the infamous invasion. 

He was just 20 years old when he stormed Gold Beach in northern France in June 1944 and survived heavy shelling and gun fire. 

Following the Allies victory on the beaches, Tony fought from Normandy through Belgium, Holland and Germany and marched into Berlin in May 1945, where he stayed for eight months. 

After the war, Tony came back to civilian occupation, and worked for a variety of companies, including the Co-op and Harveys, before retiring aged 70.    

He met his late wife Shirley whilst working at Harveys and the couple went on to have a daughter Deborah, who now lives with husband Adrian Lee in Carrwood.

Grandson Anthony, who lives in Edinburgh, said: “"It was a momentous occasion worth marking due to all my grandfather's generation gave up. I wanted to learn as much as I could from him to preserve the memories and stories of his time on D-day itself and the months following.

“It was a great honour to have been to Normandy with him and a humbling experience to be among the audible French gratitude.

“Something I will remember for always and pass on to my children and children's children."

Tony and Anthony’s emotional journey can be seen on the BBC website now.  Search ‘A Veteran’s Journey’.

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