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Tributes paid as Jersey D-Day “hero” passes away

Tributes paid as Jersey D-Day “hero” passes away

Wednesday 29 June 2022

Tributes paid as Jersey D-Day “hero” passes away

Wednesday 29 June 2022

Tributes have been paid to one of Jersey’s last surviving D-Day veterans after he passed away aged 97.

Historians view the Normandy beach landings 6 June 1944 as one of the turning points in World War II, and Britain's wartime leader Winston Churchill described it as the "beginning of the end" for Hitler.

It was the largest seaborne invasion in history and involved nearly 5,000 landing and assault craft, 289 escort vessels, and 277 minesweepers.

It's estimated nearly 160,000 troops were involved and that there were more than 4,000 allied deaths on the first day.

Harry Fenn was only 19 years old when he was involved.

In 2016, he was given France's highest military award, the Legion d'Honneur, for the part he played in the fateful day.

Alongside fellow D-Day veterans, he was presented with the medal by the French ambassador Her Excellency Sylvie Bermann at a simple ceremony in the States building. In her speech she praised the men for their bravery and said that it's thanks to their actions that we enjoy our freedom today.

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Pictured: Jersey D-Day Veterans being presented the Legion d'Honneur in 2016.

At the time, he said: "I feel honoured by the award, but I don't think of myself as a hero. The real heroes are those who never came back."

Over the years, he also played his part in keeping the story of the landings alive.

In the early 2000s, soldiers, sailors and airmen living in Jersey who were involved in the battle formed the Jersey Normandy Veterans' Association and regularly organised return trips to the beaches. Harry was among those to take part.

While a "hero" of WWII, Harry Fenn's heroic acts also extended to more recently.

As covid broke out in 2020, he recorded a plea to all islanders, urging them to stay at home to help prevent the spread of the virus.

"In 1944, I served my country and did my duty. Now it's your duty to sit on the couch," he said.

"Please save lives. It's as simple as that."

Numerous islanders have been sharing tributes online.

Among them was Graeme Delanoe, who runs Newton and Newton and is dedicated supporter of charities that look after past and present Armed Forces personnel.

"So sad to hear of the passing of Harry Fenn, Normandy Veteran and proud recipient of The Ordre National De La Legion D'Honneur," he wrote.

"It was an absolute pleasure and honour to of known you Harry and Privileged to be in your company on many trips to Normandy and some great Lunches with the rest of our amazing Normandy Veterans.

"RIP Harry, thank you for your service."

Tony Pike of the Channel Islands Occupation Society added: "Such sad news, Harry was a wonderful man and I too have many wonderful memories of our trips to Normandy together."

Former Minister Terry Le Main wrote: "RIP Harry, our Hero."

"Very Sad News Graeme, we as a nation will always be indebted to Harry's generation for the service and sacrifice they gave. RIP Harry," said Dene Cassin.


Harry Fenn and his fellow veterans taking part in a special service at the Cenotaph last year, marking the 77th anniversary of D-Day...

(Photographs by Gary Grimshaw)

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Posted by Martin on
Sad to see "The greatest Generation" coming to an end!

I consider the perceivable lack of moral fibre ( LMF) that would be shown by a 19 year old now if they had to face the deadly Hun & wonder how our new generation would cope with such hardships!

We have since WW2 - gone soft!
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