Pair hoist flag from D-Day landing craft in Shoreham

Mel Humphreys and Kim Murphy with the flag
Mel Humphreys and Kim Murphy with the flag
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A PATRIOTIC pair who heard that no Union Jack would fly from a D-Day landing craft on Friday took matters into their own hands.

Shoreham residents Mel Humphreys and Kim Murphy decided there was no choice but to fly their own Union Jack from the flagpole of the landing craft that sits on the Holmbush roundabout.

“We did it as it wasn’t right not having a flag there,” said Mel.

“We had been promised one there and nothing appeared so we took matters into our own hands. My relatives fought for our country and I am proud of that.”

The daring duo braved the traffic to reach the middle of the roundabout and hoisted the flag, fastening it in place with a piece of string.

“I was out on the Friday morning, then saw Kim’s post about there not being a flag, so I said, ‘I’ve got one, I’ll meet you up at the roundabout!’

“I felt very proud to see it flying and even more proud when someone commented on the picture to say some veterans in a nursing home were crying tears of happiness when they were shown it.

Kim said: “Putting up the flag was a small token of thanks for those who fought and suffered in the war, so that we would have the right to fly it.”

The craft was one of hundreds that landed troops on the Normandy coast 70 years ago, and one of six used in the Steven Spielberg film, Saving Private Ryan.

The craft’s owner, John Orrell, said he had bought a pair of them from Portsmouth Harbour more than five years ago.

He put one on the roundabout and the other in Le Grand Bunker museum at Sword Beach in Normandy.

The bunker was once a Nazi stronghold his father, Major Bob Orrell, captured three days into the Allied invasion.

Mr Orrell was unable to raise a flag on the craft, as he had taken a group of veterans over to France for the D-Day commemorations.

On his way over, Mr Orrell happened to be on the same boat as Bernard Jordan, the 89-year-old veteran who escaped his nursing home and made his own way to France.

Mr Orrell said he and his family had put Mr Jordan up while in Normandy.

“He was brilliant,” said Mr Orrell.

“He had nothing but his building society book and his passport.

“I asked have you got your toothbrush? He said I’ve only got one tooth!”

Councillor Emma Evans said although she did not condone the pair’s actions, she was happy to see the flag flying on the anniversary of D-Day.

Efforts will be made to tidy up the roundabout by the garage that sponsors it.