SKIPTON resident Norman Robinson was only a teenager when he was called up to serve his country in 1943.

His enrolment into active service saw two requests granted to him: firstly, to serve in the Royal Navy, and secondly as a telegrapher where he was assigned to the flagship of bombardment force E, HMS Belfast, a ‘Town Class light cruiser.

Now aged 94, Norman is taking part in the parade to the war memorial in Skipton to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings - the allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord - which took place on June 6, 1944.

George Martin, vice chairman of the Skipton Branch of the Royal British Legion, went along to Norman's home to speak to him prior to the anniversary.

He said: "Norman told me he was below decks in the radio room where at 05:27 on the morning of June 6, 1944 the ship's port side guns opened fire to support the landing troops, which included the Duke of Wellingtons regiment landing on both Sword and Gold beaches.

"These guns were huge and had a firing range of 15 miles so you can imagine the power needed and the vibrations through the ship."

Mr Martin said it was good to speak to Norman and to realise there are very few veterans remaining who are able to commemorate the day.

He said it was especially poignant that Norman, a Skipton youngster who joined the navy aged just 18, was serving on a ship which was supporting the local regiment which was landing on the beaches, and that he would be present at the 75th anniversary in his home town.

Struggling with his mobility, but still sharp in his mind, Norman said of the unforgettable day as part of the flotilla off that French shore that the reaction to the guns 'caused tremendous vibrations throughout the ship and noise was ''deafening.’

Mr Martin said it is also documented that the vibrations from the guns firing cracked the crew's toilets.

Respite from the shelling came around five hours later when the guns fell silent for a short period. During these times of relative quiet, the ship received wounded soldiers from the beaches where the ship's medical staff fought to save the lives and help the wounded prior to be taken back to the English coast.

At the end of the war Norman was part of the naval choir which sang at the first Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in November, 1945.

He will be on parade in Skipton on the anniversary day at from 10.30am along with other veterans of D Day.

Normal will proudly be wearing his medals: the Arctic Star, Atlantic Star, 39-45 Star, Legion D’Honneur, Defence Medal, Victory Medal and Admiral Ushakov.

Members of both Skipton and Craven Councils will take part in the short service of remembrance which will be conducted at the Skipton war memorial by the Reverend Roger Lowens. Members of the Royal Naval Association, Royal Air Force Association and the Royal British Legion will be in attendance with their respective standards on parade.

At 11am, buglers of the Royal British Legion will play the ‘Last Post’ marking the start of a two-minute silence to remember the fallen of the Normandy Landing.

Wreaths will be laid be by representatives of the above organisations and also members of the public. Anyone wishing to order a special 75th D Day wreath can do so through Jean Phillip, poppy appeal organiser on 07999 344 545.