CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – It was 73 years ago the allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy to help defeat the Nazis in World War II.
There are not many World War II veterans still around to recall their part in the Invasion of Normandy, but Will Delude of Chicopee remembers it clearly, he was part of the first wave.
“6:30 in the morning we were on Normandy, 6:30 in the morning we all went in they all took to different beaches. I lost 360 men.” Wilfred Delude, WWII Navy veteran.
This 92-year-old Navy Veteran joined the service in 1943 at age 18. On August 22, 1944; just 77 days after D-Day, his ship was hit by a torpedo.
“German U-boat 92 fired the torpedo, it landed where the men were standing, just below that was where we sleep. We lost 22 men, my shipmates,” said Delude.
Around that same time back here at home, Lawrence Batley, who lived in South Hadley just a couple towns away from will was among the re-enforcements sent to Normandy.
“We were replacements, they were short 3,000 men in the division, so they took a group of rookies like us and trained us for 12 weeks I guess it was and sent us overseas. I don’t think they wanted you to know the bad news but we had newspapers,” said Lawrence Batley, WWII Army Veteran.
Lawrence kept a journal during his time in world war two, he often looks back at those days in Normandy.
Both men were wounded by shrapnel. Lawrence was awarded “The purple heart” while in a hospital overseas, but Will has not received his purple heart because his medical files were lost during the war.