Time for reflection for D-Day veteran

War remembered: D-Day veteran Jack Eccles
War remembered: D-Day veteran Jack Eccles

A D-Day veteran from Burnley took time to reflect on his fallen comrades on Remembrance Day.

Jack Eccles (96) was part of a Royal Artillery detachment that landed on Sword Beach in Normandy in June, 1944, and eventually fought its way to Germany.

Jack, of Clevelands Road, said: “I wasn’t a hero, those that didn’t come back were.

“It’s very important that the country continues to have remembrance services because so many gave their lives for our freedom.

“All I will say about landing on those beaches is that it wasn’t very pleasant. We made our way right through to Germany and that was even worse. There were bodies piled up everywhere – it was a scene of carnage.”

Jack, a gunner in the Royal Artillery, was employed on a 40mm Bofors gun, but before the war had his own plumbing business in Trafalgar Street.

Born in the Healey Wood area of Burnley Jack married Iris, his late wife, who was a sergeant in the RAF.

He last visited Normandy in 1994 at the 50th anniversary of the landings and was featured in a Swedish newspaper.

Then he recollected on a very dangerous cup of tea.

He said: “The stupidest lads were determined to have a cup of tea in the middle of the night.

“They put sand in some buckets we had, poured on petrol and lit it to heat up the water. Of course, the German planes saw the flames and all Hell broke loose.

“I’m glad I went through it, I wouldn’t have missed it, but it wasn’t pleasant.”