Wednesday 6th June 2012
A veteran who fought in the Second World War has returned to France to mark the 68th anniversary of D-Day thanks to lottery funding.
General Sir Hugh Beach GBE KCB MC is among a number of veterans making commemorative trips overseas as part of the Big Lottery Fund's Heroes Return 2 programme.
The scheme funds travel and accommodation expenses to allow veterans to make trips back to places where they served.
Sir Hugh joined the army in 1941 as a sapper, and served in France as a lieutenant in 621 Field Squadron 7th Armoured Division. In August 1944, he was part of a division clearing landmines from the road in the village of La Vallee.
He was later awarded the Military Cross for bravery after carrying out a solo assault on two German soldiers while checking the safety of a bridge to allow vehicles to cross.
The incident, in La Bassee in northern France, while he was serving with the 11th Hussars, left him temporarily paralysed from the waist down.
After returning from active duty following his injury, he served in the Armed Forces for 40 years touring India, Ceylon, now Sri Lanka; and Java, in Indonesia.
The veteran , now 89, from Earls Court, London, travelled to Normandy on June 1 with his son Michael and grandson William.
Sir Hugh, who has been knighted twice, said: "I think the Heroes Return programme is fantastic, allowing people like me to return to the sites of our most exciting days. To remember and explain to those with us what it was like is very important."
Peter Wanless, chief executive of the Big Lottery Fund, said: "Hearing about the acts of bravery of our veterans on the 68th anniversary of D-Day is extremely humbling. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our veterans who liberated Europe and brought peace to others parts of the world."