THE BLOG

Remembering the Veterans of D-Day

06/06/2014 11:40 BST | Updated 06/08/2014 10:59 BST

When war broke out I was still a young lad and eventually I knew I had to go into Service, so I volunteered. As luck would have it I was training to be a mechanic and had a bit of knowledge about cars and engines so I was accepted in as a mechanic and it went on from there.

I had to go to Blackpool to join. We were posted to different parts of the globe, it went on week after week and we went to different places.

I remember once going to the Isle of Sheppey - I met an aircraft fitter and he said, "You and me have to take the engine out of this Hurricane and put it in another one". He couldn't start the other one up so between us we swapped the engines over - I didn't really know what I was doing! It was a really heavy engine but we managed to get the job done. We got it fired up and got it going then they flew it down to Basingstoke, where they did a proper repair.

I didn't know anything at all about D-Day, we didn't know it was coming. We had to do a course in camp waterproofing vehicles - there was a big bath and you had to drive through it and if you came out the other end still going you'd done the job properly! That was more or less our training for D-Day.

We went to Christchurch first; we were there for a while. When we got to the other end of Chesil beach we stopped to have some food and drink and then we put all the vehicles on this small landing barge. We had no idea whatsoever what was going on or where we were going until the time came.

I was young and didn't realise how crucial D-Day was.

Thinking back, it's a good job I did it when I did, because if I had to do it now it might be a different story - when you're older you see the danger of it and when you're young you don't think about it.

The RAF did a lot in the weeks before we went over but it was a combined effort.

I always commemorate D-Day - I think it's important to remember, a lot of people lost their lives through this campaign.

A lot of water has gone under the bridge since I ever talked about this, I think back and I was lucky to get away with my life.

I'm extremely grateful to the RAF Benevolent Fund for the support they have given me.

I was struggling to get in and out of my armchair and they bought me a chair that allows me to get up easily.

I'd also had a few falls getting out of the bath so they turned my bathroom into a wetroom - bathing is so much easier now and the help they have given me means I can still be independent in my own home.

This blog, which first appeared on the RAF Benevolent Fund website, is in memory of all those men who did not return.

Sergeant Lee Wrake joined the RAF at the age of 19. On 6 June 1944 he landed on Omaha Beach, and after saving a man who was hit in the stomach, he himself was hit in the chest by shrapnel. Lee, now aged 94, recently turned to the RAF Benevolent Fund after he found simple tasks, like bathing, more and more difficult

Please make a donation today to help the RAF Benevolent Fund continue supporting RAF veterans and other members of the RAF family.