Hero from South Wraxall promotes a fitting memorial

Frank Kerley, WWII D-Day veteran who was in the first wave of soldiers to land on Gold Beach with ‘land girls’

Frank Kerley, WWII D-Day veteran who was in the first wave of soldiers to land on Gold Beach with ‘land girls’

First published in News

A D-Day war veteran has shown his support to the village of South Wraxall in their quest to create a proper war memorial.

Frank Kerley, 93, from Salisbury, was in the Wiltshire Regiment, but was seconded to the Devonshire Regiment and was one of the first wave of soldiers to land on Gold Beach in Normandy in the 1944 D-Day invasion.

He was invited to present a cheque to David Wyper, of the village memorial committee, which is working to build a permanent memorial for those who died in both world wars.

The money was raised when 45 villagers took part in a sponsored walk from South Wraxall Club to the Long Arms pub, raising £1,125 towards the project.

Mr Kerley survived the landings to fight in France but two weeks later he was shot in the head and repatriated to recover in England.

He now has a tin plate in his head – and brought along his helmet, which has an entry and exit bullet hole, to the cheque presentation.

His son-in-law Nick Anderson, who has lived in the village for 15 years and is chairman of the club, said: “Frank was very honoured to be asked, but we were honoured for him to come.

“He made a speech about what it was like during D-Day and said the memories are there every night. He thought putting up a war memorial in memory of those lost is fantastic and said they should be remembered and never forgotten.”

The 12 names of the fallen military personnel are currently only displayed on paper in the porch of St James Church.

About £7,000 needs to be raised for the Yorkshire stone memorial, which has been designed by an architect in the village, and the parish council will soon approach the area board for funding.

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