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News Archive > General > D-Day veteran displays memorabilia

D-Day veteran displays memorabilia

By Paul Williams 15th June 2016

D-Day veteran displays memorabilia
WAR LEGEND: Harry Billinge in the Voice office

St Austell legend and WW2 Normandy veteran Harry Billinge brought nearly 70 years of wartime memories to the Voice offices last week when he put on a display of artefacts dating back to D-Day and the final big push to Berlin to end the war.

Harry, a sprightly 90 years young, took advantage of the opportunity to not only educate the public about the horrors of war but raise valuable cash for the Normandy Veterans Association (NVA) which he also chairs.

Mr Billinge was recently awarded France’s highest award for gallantry, the Legion D’honneur, presented to him on the beach at Arromanches by the town’s Mayor. The beach was code named Gold and was one of the five beaches used during the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944, the others being Utah, Omaha, Juno and Sword, an event graphically brought to life in Steven Spielberg’s multi Oscar award winning Saving Private Ryan.

As well as being the chairman of the NVA, Harry also holds the Presidency of the Royal Engineers Association (Cornwall branch) and is President of the Royal British Legion Club in Duke Street.

Harry’s dedicated his peacetime life to honouring and remembering those that failed to return home from the beaches in France and makes an annual pilgrimage back to the killing grounds that saw over 200,000 men lose their lives, many being teenagers.

Harry explained his desire to keep the memories alive: “I will never forget those young men that perished alongside me all those years ago. There’s never a single moment that I don’t think about them and it continues to haunt me to this day.”

By Paul Williams 15th June 2016

David Leek 26th September 2017 13:53
Met Mr Harry Billinge during a visit to St Austell. I was in awe of his capability to sit and not only collect donations for the British Legion but his willingness to share and relate pat of his amazing life.
I would like to thank Mr Billinge for his and his comrades sacrifes for my freedom and liberty
denis earles 8th June 2018 16:35
Had the good fortune to meet Mr Billinge last Sunday near museum by Gold beach . A remarkable man,lively jovial and engaging . A few minutes I will never forget. My deepest thanks to him and his colleagues for the freedoms I now enjoy .
Emmanuel Etchells 3rd July 2018 18:35
I know Harry Billinge as a great Patriotic gentleman, he doesn´t brag or boast, he is softly spoken, and I could sit and talk and listen to him for hours, even in his 90´s, his military bearing is as fresh as the day he marched off the parade ground at his passing out, only a little more stooped.
stephen jennings 22nd August 2018 15:49
Met this great guy today.
Still as sharp as a knife,and a good laugh.
I watched old and young peaple giving him money.
I like all of us are in awe of him
Georgina 27th August 2018 07:43
I met Harry whilst on holiday. A sprite proud and dashing man in all his finery.

We spoke and I mentioned about my grandad being buried in Normandy. I could of spoken to Harry for hours. I am in awe of this man and he is completely devoted to Never forgetting those we lost. I salute you sir. You truly are an inspiration 🙏🏼God Bless
Mrs Patricia Lewis 5th May 2019 19:13
Whilst on holiday here at St. Austell, May 2019, I have had both the honour of seeing, talking to and shaking this great man´s hand. He sits very quietly in Par Market, Par, Cornwall. Anyone can approach him and he´s a lovely man. God bless You Harry xx
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