A veteran from Long Eaton who has received vital support from Blind Veterans UK celebrated the centenary of the charity at a special reunion event in Derby.
Kenneth Godfrey, 90, was reunited with several other veterans helped by the military charity to mark its 100 years of proud service to blind and vision-impaired ex-service men and women.
Kenneth was called up in 1943, aged 18, during World War Two and served as a Rifleman in the Hallamshire Battalion of the Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment. His division was airlifted into Normandy in summer 1944 to relieve the troops who had carried out the D-Day landings on June 6. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the Normandy landings freed France from Nazi control and helped the Allies to victory in North-West Europe.
Later he took part in Operation Market Garden, a bold Allied military operation that attempted to end the war by Christmas 1944. After the war, he was posted to 2nd British Division Headquarters, requisitioning houses for men who had come back from the war. He was discharged in October 1947 as a Colour Sergeant.
He said: “I was lucky. I survived the entire war in the infantry where there was no one between us and the enemy.”
Kenneth lost his sight due to a combination of macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma. He gave up driving in 2010.
He said: “It got worse and worse. I was told at the hospital that there was no more they could do for me. I started doing little things to prepare myself for going blind, such as making sure my cereal bowl was in the same place every day.”
Kenneth discovered Blind Veterans UK through a leaflet on the hospital receptionist desk. The charity have helped him continue to live independently with talking books, a boom box, and coloured sunglasses.