Who is D-Day veteran Jim Radford and what’s his song The Shores of Normandy about?

1 June 2019, 12:34 | Updated: 1 June 2019, 13:20

Jim Radford has released a commemorative song and is vying for the number one spot in the charts
Jim Radford has released a commemorative song and is vying for the number one spot in the charts. Picture: Snappin' Turtle and TBI Media/PA

War veteran Jim Radford hopes to knock the likes of Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran off the official charts

A ninety-year-old D-Day veteran is hoping to rewrite the record books to become the oldest person to top the UK Singles Chart.

Jim Radford, who has seen his recent unlikely fame rise in line with his chart position of his haunting ballad, The Shores of Normandy, has already edged ahead of the likes of Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran in the Amazon music chart. However, despite currently being in the spotlight, his story stretches back a lot, lot longer.

Jim Radford is the youngest known Allied veteran of the D-Day landings
Jim Radford is the youngest known Allied veteran of the D-Day landings . Picture: Snappin’ Turtle and TBI Media/PA

Born in 1928 in Hull, Jim became the youngest known Allied veteran of the D-Day landings in Normandy on 6 June 1944. Aged just 15, he was a galley boy in the Merchant Navy, working aboard a vessel which was responsible for building the temporary Mulberry Harbours to assist the landings at Gold Beach in Arromanches-les-Bains.

He has garnered a wealth of supporters, including the likes of Brian May
He has garnered a wealth of supporters, including the likes of Brian May. Picture: Rex

The sights that the veteran saw that day would stay with him forever. His experiences would lead him to become a prominent activist in various political and peace campaigns, although it would be a return to the French coast in 1969 which “moved him to tears” and inspired him to pen the tune in tribute to his comrades “who stormed the gates of hell” and “died upon that blood-soaked land”.

Jim has now re-released the track to raise funds for the British Normandy Memorial, which will commemorate the names of the 22,442 men and servicewomen who gave their lives under British command in the Battle of Normandy.

A campaign to get the track to No.1 in the UK Singles Chart in time for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings has since captured the public imagination, and has gained some heavyweight backing from the likes of Nationwide Building Society, the BBC’s Jeremy Vine, and The Normandy Memorial Trust.

Jim’s passion for the monument is clear: “We want people to remember all those good men. All those young men... they deserve to be honoured and remembered. A way to honour and remember them is to take this commitment and make sure that it never happens again. For that we need a focal point. Just as we need the Cenotaph, we need a memorial in France”.

The Shores of Normandy is available to buy from online stores now.