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As we crossed into no-man’s-land the hidden German guns opened up with ferocity.
By coincidence, a few days after the landings, Mr Salmon met his brother, who was working for a bakery unit, on the beaches.
He was hit by a bullet which slammed into his helmet knocking him unconscious for three days. Mr Coupe, from Blackpool, was called up shortly after his 18th birthday and underwent basic training before being posted to the 5th Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, part of 197 Brigade of the 59th Infantry Division being prepared for the invasion of Europe.
John Salmon, 90, from Liverpool, was a member of the Pioneer Corps who, he said, had “the worst job of all” – to clear the landing areas of obstructions, explosives and defences so that troops and armour could quickly get off the beaches.
“Our main adversaries in the battle were the 1st and 12th Panzer Divisions and elements of the 21st Panzer Grenadiers.
These so called elite troops played every dirty trick in the book, and they knew plenty from their Russian front experiences, fanatical in the extreme and happy to die for Adolf Hitler.
Our job then was to protect the landing site from anyone who was going to attack it.