Concluding our series of heroic local characters from the D-Day landings, this week we turn the focus to Michael 'Mike' S Miller, a GI.

Our tribute to this final D-Day hero comes as statues at Portland harbour representing six wartime figures were named last week.

Heroic Mike was part of the unit credited with the first Allied gunshots fired during the invasion at Omaha Beach.

Mike was born on January 18, 1922 in Allmuchy, New Jersey, USA. He joined the US Army in 1940 and was commissioned in 1943 at the age of 21.

He saw service in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Sicily before being posted to Broadmayne in August 1943 with the 32nd Field Artillery (Cannon Company) of the 18th Regiment of the 1st Infantry Division. He left for France from Castletown Pier on June 5 1944.

Mike’s unit, consisting of GMC trucks towing 105mm Howitzers, landed on Omaha Beach at around mid-morning on June 6. Whilst under incessant rifle, machine gun and shell fire the trucks unloaded into 4ft of water and had to drive 100ft through the surf before reaching the beach. Despite the heavy enemy fire and numerous beach obstacles in their way, the 32nd Field Artillery Battalion was the first complete artillery unit in action on Omaha Beach and is credited with the first Allied field artillery round fired during the invasion.

Captain Miller saw action through France to the Ardennes and central Europe and, after the Second World War in Korea. He retired in March 1961 having attained the rank of Lt Colonel.

During his time in Dorset prior to D-Day, Mike met a local girl, Katherine Gallagher, at a tea dance at the Alexandra Gardens on Weymouth sea front near the Pavilion. They married on July 25, 1944 and, after the war, lived happily together in the US, having three children.

Captain Michael Miller, serial no 0-885 766, is depicted on the Caissons, on watch, talking to a GI on guard duty.