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War veteran returns to battle base
A VETERAN who was stationed in Weymouth during the Second World War has revisited the town after 68 years to celebrate his birthday.
Clifford Guard, of Swansea, was stationed in the town in June 1944 before being deployed to Omaha Beach in the Normandy landings.
He came back for the first time since then with his wife Margaret for his 89th birthday on September 17.
Mr Guard said: “I wasn’t in Weymouth for very long before I was sent to Omaha Beach days after the first landing.
“It’s 68 years since I’ve been in the town – this trip was a birthday present from my wife.
“I’ve always talked about Weymouth because I have very fond memories of the town.”
Mr Guard went to America with the British merchant navy and joined the US Army during the war.
He was a private with the 23rd Armoured Engineers, 3rd Armoured Division.
The couple visited the American memorial on the seafront and Portland harbour where the ships to France were launched.
He said: “When I was here as a young American soldier. The people here were unbelievably friendly – it’s what I remember the most.
“I always wanted to come back here as the people were so generous.
“It was a lifetime ago. When I was here before there were hundreds of soldiers from around the world and the roads were all lined with supplies and tanks to go across to France.”
He added: “We were very busy preparing for what was going to happen in France. We didn’t know what it would be but we could tell something was up. I don’t even recognise it now.
“I was in Salisbury from September 1943 to May 1944 and then came to Weymouth for a few weeks or so.
“Weymouth was our home for a time and it was the last place we saw before we were shipped to France.”
Mrs Guard said: “Cliff’s always mentioned Weymouth over the years.
“I knew he wanted to come back here so I arranged it as a surprise for his birthday.”