Bill remembers his fallen colleagues on 75th anniversary of D Day
Bill Holden, a Tenant at The Meadows Housing with Care scheme in Norwich, will mark the 75th anniversary of D Day, calling on everyone at the scheme to remember those who took part.
Bill saw active duty in the second world war in the 1st Battalion, Royal Norfolk Regiment and landed in Normandy as part of the D-Day landings on 6th June 1945.
He served for 6 years in Germany, Egypt and Jerusalem. He has arranged many trips to Holland and Normandy for the ex-service men to visit. Bill has also compiled a book which has been donated to the archive of the 1st Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment in the Castle Museum, Norwich. The book details every grave location and the number of every fallen servicemen of the Royal Norfolk Regiment. This enables relatives and friends to find their loved ones. He was awarded the MBE by the Queen for this 15 years ago.
Recalling his time during the conflict, Bill said: “The Bren Carrier’s total weight landing on Sword beach was 11 tonnes. We proceeded inland to the village of Hermanville, then on to Colleville. The Battalion’s first objective was Bellvue Farm, code name Rover. We left Colleville and in open farm land proceeded to our target. On reaching midway the two leading companies came under heavy machine gun fire from a very large German bunker. The Battalion suffered approximately 50 killed and wounded and finally captured their target, which they nicknamed Norfolk House. My best friend was killed. He has no grave and I often think why him and not me, it’s something I don’t understand. It was really terrible but I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.”
Bill also received France’s highest military honour, the Legion d’Honneur, in 2016, as a mark of respect for his part in the landings. More detail of this story can be found here: https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/they-are-our-older-brothers-and-our-heroes-french-tribute-to-norfolk-veterans-receiving-legion-d-honneur-1-4417699