Gunner saved from exploding shell by his cigarette case commemorates D-Day in Letchmore Heath

Gunner saved from exploding shell by his cigarette case commemorates D-Day in Letchmore Heath

Gunner saved from exploding shell by his cigarette case commemorates D-Day in Letchmore Heath

First published in News
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Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A D-Day veteran whose life was saved by a metal cigarette case celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings.

Ken Stovey was among those looking back on the allied landings at a service in Letchmore Heath yesterday.

The 89-year-old was in 112 Field Regiment Royal Artillery, which landed on Gold beach 70 years ago today.

Gold beach was the code name for one of the D-Day landing beaches that Allied forces used to invade German-occupied France.

Mr Stovey, who now lives in Celia Johnson Court, Borehamwood, was in Letchmore Heath yesterday to receive a floral tribute donated by Roundbush Nursery as a mark of respect. 

A small service took place on the green in Letchmore Heath where prayers, including The Normandy Prayer, were read and a one minute's silence was held.

Mr Stovey also fought in the infamous Operation Market Garden for control of the bridges across the Dutch rivers near the German border in September 1944.

Gunner Stovey was a radio operator during the battle for the River Waal bridge at Nijmegen, which was captured.

Based at a power station on the allied line, he told the gunners where to fire.

But on October 2, 1944, Mr Stovey was wounded near his heart by an exploding shell during an attack on the his position, and it was his cigarette case that saved his life.

Mr Stovey said yesterday that his first thought when he was wounded was "What’s my mother going to say?"

Gunner stovey never rejoined his regiment, as he spent the rest of the war recovering, but his comrades went on to capture Bremen and Bremerhaven in northern Germany.

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