Second World War signaller, 98, urges children to learn more about D-Day

Second World War signaller, 98, urges children to learn more about D-Day

A Second World War veteran has called on British children to learn about the Normandy landings because the “world is dangerous at the moment” and they can urge politicians to avoid war.

Henry Rice, 98, of Cranleigh, Surrey, a former signalman who arrived off Juno Beach five days after D-Day, said he will be “all mouth and trousers” during commemoration events in June to stop himself crying.

Mr Rice said “thank you, God” when asked about his feelings ahead of the 80th anniversary, adding that someone was “looking after him” during the war.

Asked about the lessons children today can learn, he told the PA news agency: “You look at the French children and they come up and talk to you, they seem to know more about it than I do because they’re taught in schools exactly what happened, the failings and the winners.

“Whereas I have honestly found that when you talk to 10, 12, 14-year-old children in this country I don’t think some of them know Arromanches, it’s schooling and it’s a pity, it would be great for children to be taught.”

(PA Graphics)

He went on: “I think it’s important, this world is dangerous at the moment, if those children grow up into adults and know what this is all about, collectively they can go to politicians, Russians can go to Putin and say ‘Oi, we’ve had all this before. We don’t want it. Stop it, please’.

“Whether the bigwigs will listen to us is another matter, but I really believe that if the population generally made their feelings known, I don’t mean going up and down the street screaming rubbish, the politicians may listen.”

Mr Rice, who received the Legion d’honneur order of merit from the French government, served on HMS Eastway, which was ferrying men and equipment to Normandy.

He will travel to France in June with a group of veterans supported by the Spirit of Normandy Trust.