D-Day vet recalls invasion 70 years later

Robert Royce
Robert Royce

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It was June 6, 1944, when the allied forces stormed the beaches at Normandy to fight the Germans. This week, we look back 70 years at that infamous day known around the world as D-Day. The story is an important part of history, but for some, the day is still as real as it was seven decades ago.

Robert Royce will be 90-years-old this month, and even though his days in battle are long behind him, the memories will never leave him.

"I said, 'Pop, I want to be where there's a lot of action.' He said, 'are you crazy, you want to get yourself killed?'" said Royce.

He was drafted into the Army in 1943. He was only 18-years-old, but he was ready to fight. He and thousands of other soldiers were shipped off to be stationed near the English Channel.

"We stayed there for a whole year, waiting for the invasion," said Royce."Every night, the German bombers would come drop bombs all over the place."

Royce and his comrades knew each day could be their last, but they continued to fight and prepare for the big day.

"Finally the day came, and they said, 'ok boys, get all your gear together'," said Royce.

The troops were loaded into trucks and shipped to the Higgins boats that would take them ashore, but getting there was half the battle. After getting out onto the open water, the Germans caught on.

"Here comes the German Air Force. Scraping, and dropping bombs on the convoys, and we never thought we were going to make it," said Royce.

He said it was by the grace of God that he finally made it ashore. That's where he saw many of his best friends for the last time.

"They sent them to the front. They never came back," said Royce.

He said this day is rooted deep in his memories, and most days he thinks about his fallen comrades. and the life they didn't get to experience so that we could.

"All they have is a little white cross there, so all I can say is I'm living for them," said Royce.

This Friday will mark 70 years since the invasion of Normandy, which helped eventually bring down the German forces and end World War II.

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