A VETERAN from Callington has starred in a charity campaign commemorating 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings  

Richard Aldred, 99, from Callington is appearing on large digital screens in central London and Portsmouth between May 30 and June 6 to commemorate the anniversary of Operation Overlord.   

The campaign by Blind Veterans UK features the portrait photographs of fourteen veterans who were involved in the Normandy landings and now receive the charity’s life-changing support. It honours their legacy and directs people to the charity’s website to read their D-Day stories.  

The campaign will be displayed on the world’s most advanced digital screens at Outernet London, right in the heart of Soho, as well as on two of Alight Media’s digital 48-sheet screens in Portsmouth.   

Richard, then 19, was a tank driver and served with the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards which were sent to Normandy after D-Day as reinforcement. His unit landed on Sword Beach via one of the Mulberry harbours and replaced others decimated by German forces.   

Richard has recalled the cramped, unsanitary conditions inside the tanks and the horrors of war, including suffering livestock and the stench of death.   

He said: “You’ve got to get on with your friends because the whole thing [tank] smells of frightened human beings, petrol, hydraulic oil and gunpowder.”   

Richard is incredibly humble when asked about his role in D-Day. He said: “I’m just an ordinary person but I’m very proud of the fact that I’ve been in the Royal Armoured Corps.”   

Richard, who turns 100 one month after D-Day, began to be supported by Blind Veterans UK in January this year after losing his sight due to macular degeneration.  

CEO of Blind Veterans UK, Adrian Bell, said: “When talking to our veterans about their experience of D-Day, many often dismiss or trivialise as unimportant the part they played. Many say that they were no more than a small cog in a huge enterprise.      

“However, when we take a step back and consider the scale and ultimate success of the operation, it could not have succeeded without such commitment from so many people playing their part.   

“Here at Blind Veterans UK we salute them all and are proud to be here to give them the support they need to live independent and fulfilling lives after sight loss.”