A diminishing number of those who survived the WWII conflict, some not ’Merrow natives’, now live in Merrow: one of them is Percy Lewis
Percy only started speaking about the war later in life, conscious that the upcoming generations need to know how awful war really is, if we are ever to learn to stop fighting each other. Percy was there on D-Day – 6 June 1944 – he landed on Sword Beach at 1600 hours carrying a No 18 wireless set, moving 3 days later to Ouistreham to a pill box at the end of a jetty.
Posted from 1st Battalion Bucks regiment to 1st Battalion Black Watch at the end of June he was wounded by mortar fire on 20 July and returned to England for a total of 19 days. He went back to France, through Belgium and on to Holland where he was captured at the end of October 1944. Percy became a Prisoner of War ending up in Stalag XIB Fallingbostel in Germany, which was liberated on 16th April 1945.
Percy was a member of the Normandy Veterans Association, now disbanded, but Mark Waring of Northcott Global Solutions arranged for a group of ‘Normandy Vets’ and helpers to go to France and stay from 3 – 8 June 2019. They visited the graves of comrades. The highlight of Percy’s visit came on 6 June at Arromanches. Percy and two other veterans were awarded the Legion d’Honneur. This was presented to Percy by his friend of 32 years, Mayor Patrick Jardin at the Remembrance Service.
Percy is very modest about this honour but the many people he knows in that part of Normandy remember the British who fought on the beaches. They encourage their children to learn about the war and to learn the lessons of history.