War veterans salute fallen

20:52, Jun 08 2014
Ross and Mary Grant
D-DAY ANNIVERSARY: Marlborough Returned Services’ Association members remembered those who fell during D-Day in World War II. Pictured is Renwick veteran Bill Sterritt, 90, who served in the navy.

Marlborough Returned Services' Association commemorated the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings at Normandy during World War II with an afternoon tea for all veterans and their spouses.

About 40 veterans who served in the army, navy and air force in WWII, Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq attended a gathering at the Clubs of Marlborough on Friday.

Marlborough Returned Services' Association president John Forrest said it was an opportunity to remember those who had fallen.

Renwick veteran Bill Sterritt, 90, served in the navy as radar operator for four years from 1942.

Sterritt said he was serving in Sri Lanka at the time of the D-Day landings.

His war diary showed he had been cleaning the ship's funnels that day.


"I remember a couple of days later meeting Lord Mountbatten," Sterritt said. "I shook his hand and I haven't washed it since."

His fondest memory on the ship was when the canteen burned down, Sterritt said.

"The next day a load of volunteers put their hands up to clear up the mess. I found a couple of bottles of beer that hadn't been burned and I went home very merry that night."

During the afternoon tea event, cadets who were completing their RNZAF initial officer training course gave a presentation on air power through the ages.

The event was rounded off with a short briefing by Marlborough Boys' College on their trip to Le Quesnoy in France. The town was liberated in dramatic fashion by the New Zealand division during World War I in November 1918.

The Marlborough Express