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Eye D-Day veteran chosen to promote new £2 coin: "Our life expectancy after landing was just one hour"

PUBLISHED: 09:07 24 June 2019 | UPDATED: 09:08 24 June 2019

Normandy veteran Alan King in the beautiful D-Day 70th anniversary ceramic poppy field on Arromanches beach in 2014, with parts of the old Mulberry Harbour in the background. Picture: Denise Bradley

Normandy veteran Alan King in the beautiful D-Day 70th anniversary ceramic poppy field on Arromanches beach in 2014, with parts of the old Mulberry Harbour in the background. Picture: Denise Bradley

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An Eye D-Day veteran's Normandy story has been included in the publicity for a new £2 coin to mark the 75th anniversary of the beach landings.

Alan King who has been awarded the Legion D'Honneur medal from France for his role in the D-Day landings. He was a wireless operator in a Sherman Tank deployed in numerous attacks aimed at containing the German Panzer units.Alan King who has been awarded the Legion D'Honneur medal from France for his role in the D-Day landings. He was a wireless operator in a Sherman Tank deployed in numerous attacks aimed at containing the German Panzer units.

An Eye D-Day veteran's portrait and story has been chosen to accompany the launch of a set of £2 coins which mark the 75th anniversary of the Longest Day, June 6 1944.

Alan King, 95, served as a member of the East Riding Yeomanry, assigned as a radio operator to a Sherman tank crew - he landed on D-Day at Lion-sur-Mer several hours ahead of his regiment and went on to take part in some of the most intense and harrowing battles of World War Two.

For 2019, to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings, the Royal Mint has released a special range of limited issue coins which feature a design by Stephen Taylor featuring the five landing beaches codenamed Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.

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Photographer Glyn Dewis, who took the portrait of Mr King, said that he "couldn't be more thrilled" to see the shot accompany the launch of the coin. Mr Dewis took Mr King's photograph as part of his 3945 Portraits Project, an ongoing series which seeks to chronicle the surviving veterans of World War Two.

"None of this would be possible though without the incredible support and trust that I have, and continue to receive from truly wonderful people I'm now proud to call friends," he said.

Mr King, who recently returned to Normandy for the 75th anniversary, completed underwater training at Fritton Lake in Norfolk and in Dunwich in Suffolk. In the Royal Mint publicity he says: "We weren't heroes, we were just boys. We were terrified. But you had your crew and your regiment and that's what you cared about. Since our life expectancy after landing was just one hour, we kept each other going. After I got back, for the first 40 years I didn't think about it. Didn't want to. But it's important that people know about it. People now have no idea what we went through."

* The D-Day Collection of coins is available from www.royalmint.com. To find out more about the 3945 Portraits Project, visit www.3945portraits.com.

Normandy veteran, Alan King, braves the rain with his poppy umbrella at the memorial at Rots in 2018. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYNormandy veteran, Alan King, braves the rain with his poppy umbrella at the memorial at Rots in 2018. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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