Veterans' Stories

D-Day 80th Anniversary - The Heroic Life of George Simms

May 30 2024

Royal Marine Commando George Simms was among the first men to land on the beaches of Normandy in June 1944.  During an interview, he reflected on his memories from D-Day.

“I’m awake most nights until Midnight thinking about what I went through on D-Day. It was absolute hell on earth. You could never describe what it was like, honestly”.

Military life and D-Day Memories

In February 1942, George volunteered to serve in the Royal Marines at 18-years-old. In November of the same year, he was selected for service in the elite Royal Marine Commandos and trained at their famous Basic Training Centre at Achnacarry Castle in Scotland.

On 6th June 1944, George took part in the D-Day landings at the age of 20. He was in the 41 Royal Marine Commando which landed with the first wave on Sword Beach. He remembered this day for the rest of his life.

“The boats were just going anywhere, everything was being bombed, this is on D-Day. Everything was being bombed around us, so nobody knew what they were doing”.

George was wounded in Normandy after he was caught in an air attack. He was blasted by anti-personnel bombs and peppered with shrapnel. He soon found himself on a boat back to England.

“I was in so much pain from shrapnel, they took me to Sheffield from the Isle of White and they removed the shrapnel. But I’ve still got what they call peppered, the small stuff that wasn’t worth operating on, I’ve got loads of that in me”.

Mr Simms was awarded 7 medals in total for his service including the Legion D’Honneur, which he was very proud of.

Later Life

George was demobilised on 24th May 1946. He went on to serve in the Fire Service for 25 years before moving into Broughton House – a dedicated nursing home for veterans which the Veterans’ Foundation is proud to support.

“It’s the best thing I ever did. Everything’s good about it, I can’t fault a thing about it, I love every minute of it”.

Sadly, George passed away on 2nd January 2021, but his story will never be forgotten.

Lest We Forget.

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