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D-Day veteran gets Royal reception on 70th anniversary trip
Bernard hands officials from French club, Corseulles-sur-Mer, a Crewe Alexandra football shirt before a commemorative game against Royal Engineers AFC
CREWE RAF veteran, Sergeant Bernard ‘Taffy’ Morgan, re-visited Normandy 70 years after landing at Gold Beach on D-Day.
The 90-year-old met the Queen, Prince Philip and chatted with the Prime Minister during a weekend of commemorative events in France.
Bernard, a cipher and code operator who used top-secret Type X machines in the war, was guest of honour at a special friendly football match, in which Royal Engineers AFC beat local team, Corseulles-sur-Mer 3-1.
The life-long Crewe Alexandra fan delivered a Railwaymen shirt to the French club as a gift to remember local lads who lost their lives during the conflict.
“They gave us a great reception. They were so pleased with the shirt and are going to frame it,” said Bernard.
“On the way there I actually got stuck in traffic. They delayed the start of the match until I arrived and then asked me to kick the game off, so I went into the centre and kicked it to one of their lads and everyone in the crowd applauded.”
While waiting to go ashore on D-Day, Bernard led a rendition of Onward Christian Soldiers for lads in his landing craft.
70 years to the day, he repeated the performance for people on the ferry to France.
“We were seven miles off-shore – in the same place I was stationed before D-Day.
“We did four verses and then everyone shouted ‘encore!’ and we sang the verses again,” said Bernard, who later met and shook hands with the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and Prime Minister David Cameron.
“I’ve not washed my hands since,” joked Bernard. “It was great. I had a long chat with the Prime Minister.”
While in France, he also took part in a military parade at Arromanches and visited Chateau Villers-Bocage, where he lost three friends as his unit – 83 Group Control Centre, 2nd Tactical Air Force – fought its way to Paris.
“They got killed on the drive going up to the Chateau. The Germans had put mines in the ground.
“Two were killed on the same drive. The other was killed while the RAF was firing at low flying German aircraft. He was in the next wagon to me when he was shot.
“I think of those things when I’m back there. You’ve got to respect those lads. I always visit the graves of the three lads in Ryes cemetery .
“It’s sad. I lost my last colleague twelve months ago. People say I’m a hero, but there were thousands on each beach, and every one of them was a hero.”
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