A D-DAY veteran returned to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of the landings to find a picture of his younger self on display in a town he helped to liberate.

At the age of 19, Ted Owens of Pembroke Dock, landed on Sword Beach on June 6, 1944 as a Royal Marines commando and marksman.

Now 94, he has returned to Normandy to commemorate 75 years since he took part in the allies’ campaign to liberate France from the Nazis.

Mr Owens said it was “absolutely wonderful” to be back in Normandy for the D-Day anniversary, and attended the commemoration ceremony at Arromanches on June 6 alongside other veterans, serving soldiers, visitors from around the globe and world leaders.

During a visit to Pont L’Eveque, Mr Owens found his portrait tied to a lamppost, with a message on it describing him as one of the town’s liberators.

Western Telegraph:

Mr Owens has visited Normandy to pay his respects to fallen comrades many times in the past, including the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 2014.

He is currently filming with ITV Wales for a two-part programme about his return to Normandy which will be broadcast later this year.

The programme is an intergenerational journey according to producer Greg Lewis, a family friend of Mr Owens.

It follows Mr Owens and his memories of Second World War, as well as two children: Evan, 9, and Caoimhe, 8, who learn about his experiences.

For the programme, Mr Owens has also visited Walcheren in the Netherlands, where he was part of a landing operation in November 1944, as well as taking his first visit to Germany, stopping in the town of Emmerich am Rhein.

Western Telegraph:

The D-Day landings were hard to take in initially for Mr Owens, and it did not feel real to him until the shells started falling around his landing craft, he said.

Operation Overlord was Mr Owens’ first real experience of combat after joining the Royal Marines at 18 in 1943.

He trained throughout the UK in Devon, North Wales, then finally at the Royal Marines training camp in Scotland.

Information about the Normandy landings was kept top secret, and Mr Owens and his fellow marines were unsure about their mission even as they boarded the landing craft to cross the English Channel.

Mr Owens was injured by shrapnel from a mortar after fighting on the Normandy coast, and found himself paralysed.

After two-and-a-half months of recovery, first on a Canadian hospital ship and later in Caerphilly, he was sent back to his unit in Pont L’Eveque, Normandy, where he faced “one hell of a battle.”

He later fought in Dunkirk and then during the Battle of the Bulge alongside American forces.