D-Day veteran said it was 'grand' to sit on 'old faithful' at Brandenburg Gate

·2-min read
Lewis Banham, 100, sat on a bike he named "old faithful" which the Blackburn Veteran's Living History Museum took on the same path he did to Berlin after D-Day
Lewis Banham, 100, sat on a bike he named "old faithful" which the Blackburn Veteran's Living History Museum took on the same path he did to Berlin after D-Day

A 100-year-old D-day veteran said he was said it was “grand” to sit back on his ‘old faithful’ bike in Berlin.

Lewis Banham was flown out to Germany by the Blackburn Veterans Living History Museum at the end of a bike ride they took through Europe on a Second World War bike.

The group found a bike of the same make and model as the one Lewis rode from Normandy to Berlin after D-Day, and took it on the same journey in the veteran’s honour.

Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph, Lewis, who is from Weir, said: “It was fantastic, it really was. It felt out of this world.

“Sitting on the bike felt great, I would have ridden it off if it had a sidecar on.

“I enjoyed it and lost count of how many people were there.

“I would like to commend the group for what they did.”

The group who rode the bike set off from Blackburn on Thursday, June 9, arriving in Normandy the following day.

They then took the bike from the beach to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin where they arrived on Wednesday, June 15, coving the same journey that Lewis had done in 1944 over to Berlin where commanders handed Lewis his final dispatch.

One of the group, Duncan Balderson, said: “This whole trip had two challenges, it was of course about Lewis and his trip.

“For us to be able to honour his achievement is an incredible privilege and a very emotional privilege as well.

“The other side of the challenge was bringing veterans from our community for respite for mental health awareness and give them some time together.

“When you are sat on a bus and looking at the beach of Normandy understanding the challenge these guys must have had, it was an incredible experience.

“It has been a long hard two years and a lot of fundraising but seeing Lewis at the Brandenburg Gate made it all worth it.

“As we rode the bike up to him his face was an absolute picture.”

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