A D-DAY veteran, Jim Radford, 90, has become an unexpected chart-topping sensation in the U.K. with a veterans‘ tribute song that’s beating Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, and Justin Bieber in the singles chart.
Radford, who was just 15 during the D-Day landings, wrote his song, “Shores of Normandy,” 50 years ago after returning to the site of D-Day on the 25th anniversary. The song’s been rereleased by the Normandy Memorial Trust for this year’s 75th anniversary to raise funds for a new memorial on the beaches where the invasion took place.
In 1944 Jim Radford was a 15 year old ‘galley boy’ serving with the Merchant Navy on the Empire Larch.
On the morning of 6th June, his first deep sea trip took him to Normandy to help build the Mulberry Harbour, allowing the Royal Navy to transport personnel, vehicles and supplies onto the beaches.
25 years later Jim returned to find a very different scene. Children were playing where soldiers had died and Jim was moved to tears. His emotional song tells that story.
Jim released his music to raise funds for the British Normandy Memorial.
In an interview with ABC News in the gardens of the former St. Paul’s School in London, where final plans for D-Day were finalized, Radford said that he was “overwhelmed by the response” to the song.
Radford was a galley boy serving on a tug boat during the invasion, he said. The youngest of three brothers who all served in the British Merchant Navy, Radford was able to join the war effort because tugboat companies were excepted from a Merchant Navy rule that recruits had to be at least 16 years old.
“I didn’t know when I went that my first trip was going to be the invasion of Europe,” he said. “The song is to remember the brave lads that didn’t come back.”
Radford, now a member of an anti-war organization called Veterans for Peace, said he hopes the song will shed new light on the experiences of those who died during the second World War.
“The significance and seriousness has been forgotten,” he said. “I don’t think youngsters nowadays realize just how serious it was … 1 in every 4 merchant navy seamen was killed during the war.”
To donate to the D-Day memorial cause download the song today or:
Text ‘DDAY 10’ to 70470 to donate £10
Text ‘DDAY 20’ to 70470 to donate £20