Barnstaple war veteran ‘abused in street’

George Lambert pictured with his World War Two medals - the Royal Medal, France and Germany Star, th

George Lambert pictured with his World War Two medals - the Royal Medal, France and Germany Star, the 1945 Star and Normandy Campaign Medal. - Credit: Archant

Bus driver launches tirade of abuse at 89-year-old as he crosses the road.

The naval party of which George Lambert (back row far right) was a part, pictured outside captured b

The naval party of which George Lambert (back row far right) was a part, pictured outside captured buildings at Kiel in northern Germany, 1945. - Credit: Archant

A war veteran who took part in the Normandy landings has spoken of his disgust after abuse was hurled at him as he crossed a Barnstaple street.

George Lambert, aged 89, was crossing at the islands in Belle Meadow Road when he says the driver of a Stagecoach bus at a nearby stop shouted at him:

“He opened his side window and gave me a mouthful of abuse and demanded that I should go back to the crossing where the lights operate,” said Mr Lambert, who also suffers from prostate cancer.

“I always cross the road adjacent to the Citizens Advice Bureau, as many people do, and which we are entitled to do as the traffic was stationary.”

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Mr Lambert served in the Royal Naval for four years during the Second World War, including during the Allied invasion of Europe in 1944, when he was part of a ‘naval party’ whose job it was to keep up with the assault troops to repair landing craft, ships and equipment.

With the timely reminder of Remembrance Day looming, he believes there is a lack or respect or recognition now for a time when thousands gave everything they had, including their lives.

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“My generation suffered a bit in those times for the present generation, and for myself, at my age, to be abused by this loudmouthed man, perhaps he might try in future to put his brain in gear before he opens his loud mouth,” he said.

“The majority of bus staff are okay and helpful, but as always in life there is always a rotten apple in the barrel. All he does is gives the rest of his fellow drivers a bad name, and the bus company he works for.”

He reported the driver to Stagecoach customer services and said they called him back to say the person would be disciplined, but he had heard nothing since.

“I would be satisfied if they just gave him a good dressing down and sent me a letter of apology,” he added.

Mr Lambert joined up aged 17 in 1942 and after taking part in the D-Day landings at Sword Beach, his naval party kept up with the forward troops, going on to support the bloody fighting at Walcheren island in Holland, which had to be taken before Antwerp could fall.

“The memory is still fresh, it never leaves you and it is always in the back of your mind,” he said.

“But I am still proud I did my bit. It had to be done and can you imagine if the Jerries had got over here, what they would have done?

“It should not be forgotten, it should be remembered, even though it wasn’t very nice. I just hope there’s never another one.”

A Stagecoach spokesperson said: “I can confirm we were contacted by Mr Lambert regarding an incident with one of our bus drivers. Mr Lambert requested a response by telephone and a member of our North Devon operations team subsequently spoke to him to offer him our apologies and to confirm that an investigation had been launched with the driver concerned. I am sorry to hear that Mr Lambert was not satisfied with our response and would therefore like to extend our apologies once again and to assure him that any complaint regarding the conduct of our staff is taken seriously and investigated thoroughly.”

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