100-year-old Studley veteran Charles shares his wartime stories with Mappleborough Green School pupils - The Redditch Standard

100-year-old Studley veteran Charles shares his wartime stories with Mappleborough Green School pupils

Lise Evans 28th Jun, 2024 Updated: 8th Jul, 2024   0

A 100-YEAR-OLD World War Two veteran from Studley has been sharing his wartime recollections with local school children.

Charles Barnes, who lives at Haywood Lodge care home, visited pupils and staff at Mappleborough Green Primary School on June 6 to tell them about his experiences as a serviceman with the British Fourteenth Army during a special school assembly marking the 80th D-Day anniversary.

The multinational force which consisted of units from Commonwealth countries is often referred to as the ‘forgotten army’ because its operations in the Burma Campaign was often overlooked by the press.

Previously in a reserved occupation as cobbler, Charles was called to service in 1944 aged 20. After training he was first sent by ship to Bombay, India. Once in south Asia Charles travelled to several locations before ending up on the front line in Burma.

He told the audience that D-Day on June 6, 1944 was ‘like any other on the front lines’, but when he finally returned home he learned a close friend had been killed in action during the Normandy Landings.

“I watched the D-Day celebrations on television and saw the street parties that took place but where I was, it was a normal day fighting on the front lines,” he said.

Charles, who also served with the Home Guard, shared his experiences with fellow Haywood Lodge resident Ann

Simcox, 93, who remembers listening to the D-Day announcements over the radio as a child.

“They both said they were overwhelmed by how intently the children listened to their stories.

“I found our visit to the school very emotional.

“One boy came and shook my hand to show his respect.

“I just hope that those children never have to go through a war like we did,” he added.

Headteacher Alex Finch said: “As recollections of the Second World War disappear from living memory, it was an incredible experience for our pupils to be able to meet a veteran. He was amazing.

“All the adults in the room were in tears listening to his story.”

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