A 90-year-old Second World War veteran from Lewisham has written and recorded a heartfelt D-Day memorial song to commemorate fallen soldiers.

Jim Radford, originally from Hull, volunteered for the Royal Navy as a 15-year-old galley boy with his brothers.

His memorial track, ‘The Shores of Normandy’, recalls the scene at Gold Beach on June 6, 1944, which he described as a “nightmare situation.”

News Shopper:

Jim Radford (right) and his brother Fred (Jim Radford)

“There were thousands of guns firing…thousands. Every ship, all those 7,000 ships were firing, bombarding and there was flak coming back still,” the veteran described.

“Gold Beach was a terrible sight. It was piled high with equipment and burning landing craft but as we got closer you could see a lot of bodies. Dead and wounded men. On the sand and in the water.”

Speaking to News Shopper, Mr Radford, who has lived in Brockley for 40 years, added: “I joined the navy because I wanted to play a part in the defeat of fascism. I was a dedicated socialist and anti-fascist.

“I wanted to get the war over and get people out of it.”

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Mr Radford describes himself as a "dedicated socialist and anti-fascist" (Jim Radford)

An activist all his life, Mr Radford has been involved in the anti-war movement since he left the navy. He was also a driving force in fighting for housing rights in Lewisham and other areas.

“I call it ‘Do It Yourself Politics’. By all means, request and demand that the authorities do something, but don’t just sit on your a*se and wait for them to do it,” he said.

Influenced by his love of folk music, Mr Radford sings: “There was not one man in all our crew that knew what lay in store.

“For we had waited for that day for five long years of war.

“We knew that many would not return, but all our hearts were true.”

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Mr Radford's raw and emotional lyrics recall the scene at Gold Beach (Normandy Memorial Trust)

Twenty-five years after D-Day, he decided he was ready to go back to Normandy, and his returning visit inspired him to write the memorial song.

“It took me a long time from when I had written it to be able to sing it in public because it was such a powerful and emotional recollection for me.”

All proceeds from downloads of ‘The Shores of Normandy’ will go towards the British Normandy Memorial, which will be inaugurated on Thursday, June 6, by Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron.

The memorial will record all names of the 22,442 men and women serving under British Command who died on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy.

Mr Radford, who is now a great-grandfather, told News Shopper: “Normandy veterans are keen to see [this memorial] established while we’re still here, so there will be a permanent memorial where families can go.”

His children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren now live all over the world, from Hull to Australia, but Mr Radford is the only member of his family to live in Lewisham – where he enjoys the folk music scene.

He had lived in Lewisham with his wife, Jennifer, who died several years ago.

“She was a wonderful woman. She made me the man I am today,” he said.