CONTINUING our series looking at the heroes connected with Portland's role in D-Day, today we turn our attention to Herbert Gordon Male.

Herbert was born in July 1916 at No 17 Wakeham, Easton, Portland and was always referred to as ‘the boy’ by his grandmother (from another Portland family, the ‘Skinners’).

The name stuck and became his permanent nickname.

He attended the Methodist School in Easton Square until the age of 14 and then joined his father as a quarryman. As a member of a work gang of 8, Boy would load Portland stone blocks onto sailing and steam ships, here at Castletown Pier.

When war came, Boy joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) as an Ordinary Seaman at the age of 23. He was initially assigned to minesweeping duties in the Atlantic and English Channel on HMS Syringa – a converted fishing trawler with a 4 inch gun added to the bow.

Boy saw a great deal of action first hand before D-Day. For instance, in September 1940, Syringa was attacked by a JU87 Stuka dive bomber and hit by a bomb, shrapnel and bullets which killed the seaman manning the rear deck Lewis gun.

The Stuka was shot down. And on 4 June 1942, whilst serving as a Petty Officer on HMS Cocker between Alexandria and Tobruk, his ship was torpedoed and sunk by U Boat 331, with the loss of more than half her crew. Boy survived, only just, but suffered concussion and swallowed a lot of oil whilst in the water awaiting rescue.

On D-Day, by now a sub-Lieutenant, Boy was second in command of a Mk4 LCT (Landing Craft Tank) number 628 carrying American General Grant tanks from Castletown to Omaha Beach. He was part of the initial invasion fleet and subsequently, until the end of November 1944, did 23 round trips from Portland to Normandy carrying tanks, trucks and vehicles of all descriptions to support the invasion.

His ship was commended by the Flag Officer in Charge, Rear Admiral Swabey, for navigating very rough seas in the gale that followed the landings and saving the ship and precious cargo of US Army trucks from being lost. Boy’s personal seamanship skills were recognised and resulted in him being promoted to full lieutenant in July 1945.

Boy was demobbed in January 1946 but, before the war ended, he married a local Portland girl, Tris Comben. They went on to have a daughter (Celia) and son (Stewart). Tris died in 2003 and Boy died March 3, 2012 aged 96.

Fellow officer, war-time friend and author, Paul Lund, wrote of Boy “Bertie Male was the strongest, fittest and best natural seaman I ever met in my naval career.”

Sub-Lt Herbert ‘Boy’ Male, serial no 184481, is depicted on the Caissons holding a pair of binoculars search for Stuka dive bombers.

The statues of the D-Day heroes on the Caissons will be officially named in a special ceremony on June 6, the 74th anniversary of D-Day.