Bill Taylor saluting behind a window wearing his medals

Bill Taylor's story

Having been forced to shield at home with his daughter during the Covid-19 pandemic, former Able seaman Seymour ‘Bill’ Taylor, 95, said he would be remembering his comrades on his doorstep last year.

Bill served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, and was part of the D-Day operation, with HMS Emerald defending Sword, Gold and Juno beach, shelling the enemy from the deck, before his ship was hit by an unexploded bomb and it had to be anchored back to Portsmouth.

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“It’s been a very different year from our adventures last year, but we do what we have to do to stay safe,” Bill says.

In 2019, Bill was part of the RBL’s D-Day 75 commemorations, and along with over 200 other veterans he travelled back to Normandy for the anniversary on RBL's very own ship.

“It was an absolutely wonderful experience and I couldn’t fault RBL for the care and attention we all received during that special commemorative week – it was really something and I’m very appreciative of the support we received throughout the experience and beyond!”

Bill Taylor on Day 1 of the D-Day 75 Voyage of Remembrance

2020, however, was very different for Bill and his daughter, Janet who spent most of the year shielding at their home.

I will proudly observe the silence on my doorstep and wear my poppy, as I do every year, with pride.

As he was shielding Bill was unable to mark the 75th anniversaries of VE and VJ Day in person with the Royal Naval Association and his local RBL branch. But thanks to the use of modern technology including video calls, Bill did still managed to be a part of the anniversaries from home.

“This year has been very tough having been unable to go out, meet with friends and mark significant anniversaries. However, I admire those who have been on the front line dealing with this terrible virus day-to-day, they have shown the same sense of duty that my generation did during the Second World War, they are the ones now protecting our society.

“So, although I won’t be able to march up to the local memorial this year to remember those we have lost, I will proudly observe the silence on my doorstep and wear my poppy, as I do every year, with pride.”

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