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Maldon WW2 veteran, 99, recalls ‘constant noise’ of D-Day 80 years on

By Ben Shahrabi

Ron Baker
D-Day veteran Ron Baker attended a commemorative ceremony at Maldon's Promenade Park. (Credit: Ben Shahrabi)
A 99-year-old WW2 veteran from Maldon has recalled the “constant noise” of D-Day, 80 years on from the successful military operation which “came at a terrible price”.

Former marine Ron Baker is one of fewer than 100 surviving British D-Day veterans.

He served with the 45 Commando Royal Marines as a landing craft coxswain (pilot). On 6 June 1944, he transported young soldiers to the Normandy coast and took wounded men back to the hospital ship, before collecting more troops.

He worked from early in the morning until late into the evening, travelling back and forth between England and France.

People in ampitheatre.
Residents joined current and former servicemen and women at the amphitheatre in Promenade Park. (Credit: Ben Shahrabi)

All these years later, Mr Baker can still recall the commotion of the invasion.

He said: “It was the noise. We had rocket ships firing those things over our heads constantly.

“Then we had the battleships firing salvo after salvo. And then the cruisers further out, with their huge shells.

“You would hear them coming like a train and feel the pressure as they went over you. You just got on with it, but it wasn’t pleasant.”

Despite his crucial role in the operation, Mr Baker refuses to be called a “hero”.

He said: “Those poor boys that stayed out there are the heroes. I don’t want medals for doing what I did - to me, it was a job.”

Last Thursday (June 6), hundreds of residents joined serving and former military personnel in Promenade Park as part of nationwide commemorations.

Mr Baker attended with his family, telling Caroline Coastal: “I’m 100 in two months’ time, so I do remember things.

“I think we had a good turnout. They put on quite a good show.”

Soldiers in front of beacon
The town's beacon was lit to honour those who took part in D-Day. (Credit: Ben Shahrabi)

Historian Stephen Nunn paid tribute to the servicemen who perished, before Maldon District Council chairman Kevin Lagan read the International Tribute and the town’s beacon was lit.

Mr Nunn said: “D-Day was an undoubted military success, opening up Europe to the Allies and ultimately leading to a German surrender less than a year later.

Kevin Lagan
Council chairman Kevin Lagan read the International Tribute. (Credit: Jon Yuill)

“But it all came at a terrible price.

“In excess of half a million men from both sides were killed, missing or wounded. That includes some men from this town who we now remember as representatives of that sacrifice from across the world, country, county and our district.”


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