‘British humour is the biggest weapon that the Army’s got!’

MEMORIES Veterans Eddie Wallace, 89, Harry Marrington, 88, and Gordon Dance, 87. Picture: Malcolm Wells (13916-5903)
MEMORIES Veterans Eddie Wallace, 89, Harry Marrington, 88, and Gordon Dance, 87. Picture: Malcolm Wells (13916-5903)
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At just 18 years old, Frank Rosier landed on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944.

Now 87, he is sharing his experiences of war at The D-Day Museum in Southsea.

The veteran, along with others from the Normandy Veterans’ Association, hopes to excite and interest young children and families of today.

‘Us infantrymen always got to have a laugh,’ he said.

‘It was the rivalry that kept us going. We joked around all the way there. It was encouraging.’

Frank believes this is more important than guns and bombs.

‘The British humour is the biggest weapon the army’s got. The ability to laugh at each other and at the enemy, it’s important.’

Sharing some fond memories, he said: ‘Most on the boat were seasick. But those of us that weren’t, we had a laugh.

‘We got hot soup or chocolate and held it under their noses, that was fun, making them feel worse.

‘You imagine, you’re with a group of 30 men, always together. You’re brothers.’

Frank, who lives in Waterlooville, said at such a young age it was not obvious to him how serious war was.

‘It takes a while to realise that it’s not just cowboys and Indians – it’s real war,’ he said.

‘If your mate gets hit on the beach, you’ve got to leave him. Otherwise you’ll be lying next to him.’

Frank was seriously wounded during when his regiment was pulled back after being surrounded by Germans.

‘On the way out we saw a chicken farm, and we dug in! I had my shirt holding chicken eggs. Then a small bomb landed near us. It hit me right on my neck, but that’s all I felt.

‘I had egg all over me and it wasn’t until I woke up in hospital I found out I’d lost my eye. I was more worried about smelling of egg.’

Andrew Whitmarsh, development officer at the museum, said the veterans have been great at sharing their experiences with children.

He said: ‘The great thing about the veterans being here is they were actually at D-Day.

‘It’s one thing to read something the museum has put together, but to speak to someone who was there is totally different.’

Frank will be at the D- Day museum, along with other veterans, on weekdays until April 12 between 11am and 3pm.

For more information visit ddaymuseum.co.uk