Here is a heartfelt poem written by Eastbourne author Heather Flood that perfectly commemorates D-Day and the brave heroes who gave their lives to begin the liberation of France and lay the foundations of the Allied victory. Her poignant tribute appears in the book she has jointly written with her husband Tony Flood called Laughs and Tears Galore – short stories and poems with twists.

JUST A BOY 0F 18 ON D-DAY

I was 18, on a boat with my mate Tommy, sailing out to sea.

If my dear old dad Bill knew, he would be so proud of me.

He died in the First World War, torpedoed with his crew,

They were protecting the ships, that brought the food, for you.

The day came when we also went to fight and said goodbye to our Mums,

“See you, and don’t worry, we’ll look after each other, we’re chums.”

It was now our turn, we had to go, kit bags at the ready,

in stormy seas, with my weak knees, it wasn’t easy to keep steady.

We went to war, feeling quite scared, sailing from Plymouth Quay.

Two young boys, who’d joined the Navy, my mate Tommy and me.

We heard the guns, we saw the planes roaring overhead,

But I didn’t see the bullet that shot Tommy dead.

He paid the price, bless his heart, I could not save my friend.

We’d both been willing to fight side by side until the very end.

No time to grieve, or shed a tear, for Tommy, the mate I’d lost,

Just one of the boys who died that day. What a terrible cost.

I’m an old man now, sailing back to France, in the choppy sea.

Remembering when I went to war, with Tommy from Plymouth Quay.

As we approach the beach today, there’s no bodies bobbing around.

The water is clean, no blood to be seen and no one dead on the ground.

Now we sail once more to remember and salute you with pride and regret.

The friends we lost, in the sea they were tossed as if we could ever forget.