Tributes have been flooded in to one of the country’s last surviving D-Day veterans, who has died aged 97.
Boy soldier Ray Lord, from Hull, cheated death nearly 80 years ago as a teenager during the fighting in Normandy.
He had been in uniform since the age of 14 and joined the East Yorkshire Regiment’s 4th Territorial Army Battalion aged 15 as a signaller.
After being discharged from war service in 1939 as he was ‘too young’, Ray instead worked as a joiner repairing blitz damage in his home town of Hull, East Yorkshire, one of Britain’s most bombed cities.
He signed up for a combat role as soon as he turned 18, in 1943, and was enlisted to the East Yorkshire Regiment again.
It was then when he narrowly-missed death when he was injured by a mortar bomb outside Caen, where his radio took most of the blast, and likely saved his life.
He was one of thousands who landed on the beaches of France on 6 June 1944.
After spending several weeks in a hospital in Leeds, he returned to the battalion for the remainder of the campaign in North West Europe and was in Bremen on VE Day, 8 May 1945.
The battalion went to Palestine and then Egypt where Ray served until he was discharged in 1947.
After the war, he married and owned and ran a newsagent in East Hull.
In an interview before his death, Ray recalled landing on the Normandy beaches on D-Day in 1944.
‘I was green as grass. It was a big adventure to me,’ Ray said.
‘I was sick as a dog going across, of course, because the sea was rough.
‘As soon as I landed, I was up to my thighs in water as we waded ashore.’
Mr Lord was a leading member of the Normandy Veterans’ Association and took part in commemorations of the liberation of Europe in France and the Netherlands.
His son, Robert Lord, called him as a ‘very proud hero of Hull’, adding: ‘It’s very difficult to imagine what it was like for that generation.
‘He joined up – he was wanting to join up – and I think he wanted do his bit for the country.
‘I think if he could have gone earlier, he would have done.’
His son said it was only in later life that Mr Lord got involved with veterans’ groups.
‘Growing up as a kid, if you asked him, “What did you do in the war, dad?”, he was a bit reluctant to open up, to come forward,’ he said.
‘I think it’s the horrors of what they’d seen, and you hear it from a lot of that generation who went through it.’
Lord was awarded France’s top honour, the Legion D’Honneur in 2016, alongside comrade John Ainsworth, who died in 2019 aged 98.Internet Explorer Channel Network