Normandy landings

Eighty years on, the planning of Operation Neptune remains awesome

In December last year, the last surviving D-Day veteran of my old regiment, the 13th/18th Royal Hussars, died peacefully in his care home. On 6 June 1944, 20-year-old Trooper Lawrence Burn had been the gunner in a specially adapted Sherman tank which, along with others of the regiment, had driven down the ramps of their landing craft 5,000 yards off Sword Beach and swum for almost an hour through the high swell to land a few minutes ahead of the assaulting infantry in order to suppress the defenders’ fire. Years later, Burn was still in awe of the scale and execution of the Normandy landings: ‘I don’t know who planned