Let the children know the reason we went to Normandy

D-Day Veteran Len Bloomfield was a 21-year-old Lance Corporal in the Royal Marines serving on HMS Mauritius during the Normandy Landings. He returned to France 70 years later with The Royal British Legion to pay tribute to the comrades he lost.

Len Bloomfield was on board HMS Mauritius during the full four days of the D-Day landings. In 2014 he returned to Normandy on one of our Remembrance Travel tours. We followed him as he met with other veterans to remember those four days that changed history.

Len was a member of the Legion, and regularly gave educational talks to schools. His local school 'adopted' him as their war hero. He was also a volunteer member of the learning team at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford. Sadly, Len passed away on 10 November 2014.

Len's story

military service

Len served in the Royal Marines, joining in March 1939. Throughout the Second World War he served all over the world including in the Arctic Circle, Africa and the Mediterranean.

Len was off the coast of Sicily when he witnessed the dive-bombing by enemy aircraft of HM Hospital Ship Talamba which was being used to treat and evacuate personnel. After two years abroad, Len returned to the UK with his fleet to prepare for D-Day in August 1943. He had some time to see his wife and family prior to the campaign.

NORMANDY LANDINGS – 6 JUNE 1944

During the Normandy landings, Len was a gunner on HMS Mauritius which was positioned in the English Channel providing artillery support to the landing ships on Sword Beach. From his position on the cruiser, Len witnessed the devastation on the beaches and praised the air support 500 aeroplanes which provided support to the land and sea attack. HMS Mauritius kept up a continuous bombardment of German position and, with its four- and six-inch guns, could fire as far inland as Caen. The cruiser was in position from 6 June to 23 August 1944.

"It would have been catastrophic if we had failed at D-Day. I’m sure of that. I’d never seen such a sight in all my life." Len Bloomfield

Photo of Len Bloomfield and photo of ship serving at D-Day

"Let the children know the reason we went to Normandy. Freedom. That’s what it’s all about." Len Bloomfield

After the war

Following the Normandy landings, Len returned home to continue working with the Navy in a land-based job which enabled him to spend time with his family. He was the proud recipient of six campaign stars, including his most recent award  the Arctic Star in 2013.

“He touched the lives of everyone that knew him and helped the Legion to get the message of Remembrance out to a lot of young people.” Lynn Scarrott, Legion Membership Support Officer (Norfolk)

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