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Special day as we honour Middleton D-Day veteran

23 August 2019

Jim Healey with the Mayor of Rochdale, Councillor Janet Emsley and family.

We have honoured a 94-year-old veteran who played a key part in the D-Day landings on Normandy beaches.

Middleton resident Jim Healy was presented with a specially framed certificate of thanks by the Mayor of Rochdale, Councillor Billy Sheerin.

Jim served as a coxswain in the Royal Marines and he ensured his boat, carrying 35 Allied soldiers, successfully landed at Juno Beach during 'Operation Overlord' in June 1944.

Thousands of men lost their lives during the long, but ultimately victorious campaign to liberate north-west Europe from Nazi occupation.

Jim lived to tell the tale and, 75 years on, friends and family joined him at a Rochdale Town Hall reception to commemorate the role he played in helping to secure the peace.

'A huge thanks to the council for such a delightful and emotional day'

Jim said: "I am extremely honoured to have been recognised in this way. It was a complete surprise but a very pleasant one. The D-Day landings seem like yesterday and, all these years on, I can still vividly recall the moment the boat landed on Juno beach. It was a huge operation and I was honoured to have played my part in helping to defeat evil and protect our freedoms. I was one of the lucky ones who survived, many of my comrades didn't. I never forget. A huge thanks to the council for such a delightful and emotional day."

Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for the Armed Forces, said: "Jim is a remarkable and very brave man who played a major part in ensuring the D-Day landings were successful. He has an amazing story to tell and it was fitting he was recognised in this way. Jim fought to protect our values, freedom and liberty and, thanks to him and thousands of others, future generations were protected from the scourge of evil. It was lovely to see him surrounded by family and friends at the special ceremony. Lest we forget."

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