Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Torrington cafe worker Roy was among the brave

PUBLISHED: 09:01 10 June 2014 | UPDATED: 11:26 16 June 2014

D-Day veteran Ernest 'Roy' Handford, pictured with his medals and a photograph of himself in 1940.

D-Day veteran Ernest 'Roy' Handford, pictured with his medals and a photograph of himself in 1940.

Archant

D-Day veteran often recalls wartime tales over a pot of tea at family’s cafe in Torrington.

A D-DAY veteran who helped man a landing craft taking Canadians soldiers to Juno beach is always happy to tell his tale at his family’s Torrington café.

Ernest Handford, 91 and known to everyone as Roy, now works in the Green Lantern Café, but on June 6, 1944, he was a young seaman in the Royal Navy making his way to Normandy.

“There were three different lots of us – the British, Americans and Canadians, and I left with Canadians from Southampton,” said Roy.

“We all went around the Isle of Wight, and it wasn’t until we saw France that we knew this was really it.

“We had been training for that moment for a year but never knew, when we set off, whether it was going to be the real thing or not.”

Roy, whose family lived in Merton at the time, and had three other brothers fighting in the war, recalled how the ships were ‘a magnificent sight’.

“It was one of the biggest sights I’d ever seen, as we came around the Isle of White and all three lots of us were facing France,” he said.

“I looked back and couldn’t see the sea for all the ships; it was absolutely choc-a-block.”

Roy recalled how the orders were given to drop the troops on the beach and then turn around for the next lot.

“We must have done about 14 trips non-stop, but I don’t know how long it took,” he said.

Roy, who paid a visit to the Normandy beaches shortly after the 65th anniversary of D-Day, remembered how he had wished for his safety in a wishing well.

He said: “There was a man there from Manchester and we both wished that we would return back safely from D-Day. I like to think that wish came true for me.

“The only thing I can say is, looking back, that you look back over it all and think yourself lucky that you’re still here.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other North Devon Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by North Devon Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique North Devon Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other News Stories

10 minutes ago

Auditions for the next series of the ITV talent show will be held in Barnstaple

Read more
Yesterday, 23:21

Funnel clouds are spotted near Barnstaple, Westward Ho! and Ilfracombe following a day of bizarre weather

Read more
Yesterday, 17:30

The general election war of words is starting to heat up in North Devon as the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats set out their stalls

Read more
Yesterday, 16:36

The Starlings will be hosting their debut gig at Saunton Road Studios in Braunton on Saturday, April 29, inspired by the Mike Collins tribute night and to raise awareness for mental health charity Clarity

Read more
Yesterday, 15:39

Torrington Mayfair and carnival is next week- and we’ve put together this handy guide to what’s happening.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:56

Lisa Wallis, founder of ChemoHero, has been awarded a Health Star Award at a national awards ceremony in London.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:42

The kitesurfer, who had managed to make a make-shift liferaft from his kite, was incredibly lucky to be found alive after an hour of searching in darkness.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:02

Bideford Primary Academy will provide 420 places for school and nursery children

Read more
Yesterday, 13:20

A pair of Braunton women have successfully completed the Marathon Des Sables for North Devon Hospice and Children’s Hospice South West.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:25

Instow Parish Council working group is proposing a summer ban on dogs on the beach for a section of Instow seafront

Read more

Local Weather

Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 9°C

min temp: -2°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications