A SECOND World War veteran from Basingstoke who participated in D-Day shed a tear during the 80th anniversary flag-raising ceremony.

Tom Stonehouse, 98, was part of the second wave of the assault on Gold Beach on June 6, 1944, D-Day.

Attending the service on Thursday, June 6, Tom was visibly moved, with family members explaining how he teared up when the flag was raised.

"It was Tom's wish to go," son-in-law Kevin Exley told the Gazette, "He had a little tear in his eye when the flag went up and the lady next to him, who he'd never met before, held his hand.

READ MORE: PHOTOS: People gather at War Memorial to mark 80th anniversary of D-Day

Tom Stonehouse sheds a tear during the ceremonyTom Stonehouse sheds a tear during the ceremony (Image: Sean Dillow)

Tom, who lives who lives with his wife Shirley in Norn Hill, has been a resident of the town for 50 years, and worked as a grinder for Lansing Bagnall before his retirement.

A private in the 2nd Essex Regiment battalion, Tom, who lived in London at the time, was conscripted in January 1944, joining the army on his 18th birthday.

"His mother kept the call-up cards hidden from him and only gave them to him on his 18th birthday. Three days later he was called up and went off to complete his training, and five months later he went straight to D-Day," said Kevin.

Tom Stonehouse participated in the D-Day landingsTom Stonehouse participated in the D-Day landings (Image: Sean Dillow)

In a document written between 2008-2010 entitled My Memories of the War – Tom Stonehouse - Grandad which was shared with the Gazette, Tom explained what it was like to land on Gold Beach on D-Day.

He said: "There was little resistance on the beach on arrival, the area had been secured by previous troops.

"Fewer British soldiers were lost here than US troops on [the immediately neighbouring] Omaha beach.

"The noise of gunfire on the beach was incredible.

"On leaving the unstable landing craft to arrive on Gold Beach I was sick in the sea following the rough sea journey.

"Our men quickly moved inland, again facing little resistance. Sea sickness feelings continued."

Tom was joined at the service by members of his family who had travelled from Alresford. Kevin explained how it was his grandchildren who "helped him open up" about the war after discovering he never received medals for his service.

He said: "He was never awarded his medals and he didn't want to ask after them, it wasn't until around the year 2000 when his grandchildren persuaded him that he actually received them.

"We're very proud of him and want to support him and go to any events that he wants to. He was keen to attend the one in Basingstoke and we recently found out there is a plaque in Lymington, so we will be going to see that soon."

Tom with his familyTom with his family (Image: Sean Dillow)

Tom participated in numerous battles on the frontline in the war, and one moment that stuck out for him was in April 1945, during the Liberation of Arnhem in the Netherlands, when his was reunited with his brother, Bill.

Tom said: "Coming out of Arnhem, when our unit was moving back from the frontline for a break, I met my brother Bill, marching into Arnhem in the opposite direction.

"Bill had a job working on telephones so was marching into Arnhem to improve their communications.

"Seeing him was the best moment I had in the war.

"We were both given one hour together before Bill needed to report into Arnhem and I was taken on a ‘Bren gun carrier’ to catch up with my unit marching out of Arnhem."