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D-Day veteran Edward Gaines from Poole dies aged 98

D-Day veteran Edward Gaines from Poole dies aged 98

One of the last surviving D-Day veterans who transported dynamite to Omaha beach has died aged 98.

Edward Gaines, known as Eddie, died at his home in Poole, Dorset, on 21 April.

Mr Gaines, who had four children and 16 grandchildren, had previously told the BBC about his experience of preparing for the Normandy landings in June 1944.

Blind Veterans UK, which supported Mr Gaines in his later years, said he left "a legacy of service to his family, his country and the veteran community".

Mr Gaines left school aged 16 to take up an engineering apprenticeship

He was born in 1925 and left school at the age of 16 to take up an engineering apprenticeship, although a bomb blast destroyed the firm and he went on to join the Royal Navy in 1943.

After initially training on motor gun boats at Portland, Mr Gaines transferred to become a petrol stoker on landing craft.

He and the other four crew of his landing barge vehicle set off from Poole on 4 June 1944 in preparation for the Normandy landings and they transported 35 tonnes of explosives and a bulldozer to land at Omaha beach on D-Day.

They continued to work on the beach, transporting ammunition, equipment and men, for several months and he served in Normandy until Christmas Eve 1944.

Mr Gaines spoke to the BBC about his experiences and being supported by Blind Veterans UK in 2017

After leaving the Navy when the war ended, he worked in a mill in Battersea before helping his parents build their dream bungalow and then becoming self-employed as a bricklayer until his retirement aged 60.

Mr Gaines first received support from Blind Veterans UK in 2016 after losing his sight much later in life due to age-related macular degeneration.

His family said: "Eddie was so passionate about his support for Blind Veterans UK that he flew the charity's flag outside his home for the last years of his life."

The charity also arranged for Mr Gaines to be presented with the Chevalier de l'Ordre National de la Legion D'Honneur in recognition of his part in the liberation of France.


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