Bromley D-Day hero fighting on by supporting others who have left the Armed Forces

This Is Local London: Bill Aitkenhead Bill Aitkenhead

A D-Day veteran from Bromley is fighting on by supporting those who have left the Armed Forces.

Bill Aitkenhead, 88, volunteers for the Soldiers' and Sailors' Families Association (SSAFA) and has been involved in over 45 cases a year across Bromley, Lewisham, and beyond.

Mr Aitkenhead served in the elite Special Seaborne Service and during the Normandy Landings on June 6, 1944, played a crucial role aboard the US Navy shop Liberty as it transported troops to Omaha beach.

Now the ex-serviceman continues to work in the field, supporting other former personnel as they make the transition to civilian life.

He said: “I find a great deal of my work is spent in speaking to veterans and helping to solve their problems.

“My background enables me to speak to them with empathy and understanding.

“It’s very worthwhile work – it gives me a reason to get out of the house and I enjoy meeting the people we help.  Everyone who has ever served knows about SSAFA.”

A lot of what Mr Aitkenhead does involves families suffering financial hardship, or those dealing with disabilities or bereavements.

He added when he returned from the World War Two conflict nobody talked about it until around 10 years ago, when the 60th anniversary was commemorated.

A week today (May 30) marks the 70th year since the events.

A young Bill Aitkenhead, pictured standing at the back of the group during a debriefing in 1944

This Is Local London:

Do you have old photographs of you or a member of your family serving in 1944? Please send them to joshua.barrie@london.newsquest or tweet them to @joshbythesea

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