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E-mail: enquiries@jaynedarling.co.uk Tel: 07795 342639 Jayne Darling, Arnold, Nottingham,

Tag: British History

Reflecting on an Incredible Day: Veterans Lunch in Sleaford
Reflecting on an Incredible Day: Veterans Lunch in Sleaford

 What an incredible day at the Veterans Lunch in Sleaford as part of the Armed Forces Day and D-Day 80 Commemorations!

I had the privilege of meeting one of Britain’s last remaining D-Day veterans, Les Budding, who is now 97. Les was only 18 when he served on Landing Craft Flak 34, providing covering fire for the first wave of troops at Sword Beach on 6 June 1944.

Les shared some amazing stories about his time during the war. He joined the Royal Marines at 17 and, after training in Scotland, was part of a crew of 85 on a landing craft headed for Normandy. Their mission was to protect the main invasion force from attacks by the Luftwaffe and other threats. Les talked about the false start due to bad weather and how the RAF played a crucial role in keeping enemy aircraft at bay.

He vividly remembered the intense moments of D-Day and how survival often felt like “the luck of the draw.” Les also spoke fondly of his sergeant, Jack Grimsey, who was tragically killed in action just a day after D-Day. Les still keeps a framed photograph of Jack to this day.

After the war, Les returned to his sweetheart Doris, and they were married for 71 years. He now lives near Sleaford, Lincolnshire, and remains modest about his heroism, insisting he was “just one of many.” Meeting Les was a humbling experience, and his stories are a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by so many.

Hearing Les’s experiences first-hand was a deeply moving experience. He described how, at such a young age, he and his comrades faced unimaginable challenges. His account of the day’s events, the chaos, and the bravery shown by so many brought a new level of understanding to what we often read in history books. The personal touch of his story, especially his fond remembrance of his sergeant and friend Jack Grimsey, highlighted the deep bonds formed in the most testing of times.

Les’s story doesn’t end with the war. After returning to his beloved Doris, he built a life in Lincolnshire, and their 71 years of marriage is a testament to enduring love and resilience. Despite the hardships of the past, Les remains a modest man, emphasising that he was just one of many who did their duty. His humility and strength of character are truly inspirational.

This experience at the Veterans Lunch was not just a performance for me; it was a chance to connect with history and to honour those who have given so much. It’s crucial that we continue to remember and celebrate these heroes. Their stories need to be heard and shared, ensuring that the legacy of their bravery and sacrifice lives on.

Let’s continue to honour and remember these incredible heroes.

D Day 80 Poppy Display

Jayne Darling singing in front of a D Day Poppy Display

Jayne Darling Performing at the Sleaford Veteran’s Lunch

Jayne Darling singing in front of a D Day 80 Poppy Display

Jayne Darling Performing at the Sleaford Veteran’s Lunch

Philip Collins, Jayne Darling, Les Budding at the Armed Forces Event in Sleaford June 2024

Philip Collins, Les Budding and Jayne Darling pictured together at the Armed Forces Day Veteran’s Lunch