A MAN has shared the secret story of his "hero" father who participated in D-Day, after visiting Normandy on the 80th anniversary.

Trevor Lemar, who lives in Chineham, was invited to the two memorial services held in the Bayeux Cemetery and Ver sure Mer on June 5 and June 6, along with his wife.

After experiencing a "rollercoaster of emotion," he believes it is important to share stories like that of his father, Dennis Herbert Lemar, "so that they are never ever lost and forgotten".

He said: "Last week for D-Day 80 my wife and I were invited by the Royal British Legion to attend both official ceremonies, at the Bayeux Cemetery on June 5, attended by the Princess Royal, Princess Anne and on June 6, at the new British Normandy Memorial service at Ver sur Mer attended by our King and Queen and other dignitaries.

SEE ALSO: 'We're very proud of him' - D-Day veteran, 98, tears up at flag-raising ceremony

Trevor Lemar in Normandy, with his wifeTrevor Lemar in Normandy, with his wife (Image: Trevor Lemar)

"Both events were a rollercoaster of emotion, and we cried our way through both very moving ceremonies. After which we spent the remainder of the week visiting Juno Beach, of course, and the other beaches, gun batteries and Pegasus Bridge, where so many brave people gave so much in order for us to enjoy the freedom and privileges that we have today."

Trevor's father, Dennis, was born in Basingstoke on June 13, 1921, and joined the navy aged just 16.

"Dad voluntarily joined the British Royal Navy at the young age of 16 in 1928, just 18 months later at 17 and a half, he found himself in the thick of World War Two," Trevor said. 

Dennis LemarDennis Lemar (Image: Trevor Lemar)

Dennis served in the Royal Navy between 1939 and 1945, aboard various ships including dreadnought destroyers, hunt class destroyers, battle cruisers, minesweepers and submarine depot ships.

In addition to participating in the Normandy landings on D-Day, Dennis served in the Atlantic convoys, in the Arctic at the Battle of Narvik in Norway, the Mediterranean Convoys at Malta and Alexandria, Egypt and minesweeping in the Adriatic and escorting tank convoys to General Montgomery’s Desert Rats in north Africa.

Trevor said: "He later served in Burma and Palestine In 1957 and with 10 children, mum wanted dad home, so he left the Royal Navy, ironically after all of the horrific and destressing things that Dad had been through."

Trevor only got to spend "eight short years" with his father, who had gotten a job at the Blue Peter Tyre factory, in Worting Road.

"On September 1, 1965, at the age of 44 he cycled to his ‘civvy street’ job at the Blue Peter tyre factory in Worting Road.

"On his way there he was struck by a lorry and was tragically killed."

After his mother died aged 92, Trevor was handed his father's wooden Ditty Box, which was to new recruits to keep their personal belongings in.

"In Dad’s box there was his medals, his navy records and some black and white photographs. My son Mark and I, with the use of MOD records and the internet, started to research Dad’s navy career.

"An entry in Dad's Navy records stated the rather cryptic words: Odyssey Force ‘J’ from 1 April 1944 to 30 May 1944. Immediately that an entry. LST 199 (Landing Ship Tanks) 31 May 1944 to 31 Jan 1945."

Trevor had discovered a piece of his father's past that he was previously unaware of - his dad had participated in D-Day.

Dennis joined the Navy aged just 16Dennis joined the Navy aged just 16 (Image: Trevor Lemar)

"Odyssey Force J refers to practicing beach landings in the west country of England on the run up to D-Day the letter J refers to Juno Beach," Trevor said.

"It so emerged that Dad had practiced and then participated in the Normandy Beach landings on Juno Beach on D-Day. On June 5 at D-day minus 11 hours Dad on board LST 199, left the hard at Gosport and Spit head.

"His Landing Ship Tanks assembled with LST’s and a large convoy of ships just off the Isle of Wight at point code named Piccadilly Circus.

"Fully laden with tanks from the Canadian Fort Garry Horse Tank Division, the Canadian Queens Own Rifles, and the Canadian 8th Infantry Brigade, Dad’s ship sailed in a convoy down, mineswept channel 7 to the nan-white sector of Juno Beach. On D-Day, Dad's LST landed the tanks Artillery and Troops onto Juno Beach."

Another shipmate wrote that when LST 199 landed at the beach that day, the tide went out behind the rear anchors and The LST, unable to haul itself off of the beach, was stranded and became a large Sitting Target (a nickname for an LST, given in jest).

Trevor added: "The captain ordered all of the crew off of the ship and to run for cover in shell holes under damaged vehicles and to hid in the bluff.

"There they sat until the tide came back in some hours later and they could haul themselves off of the beach.

LST 199 returned to Gosport with the D-Day dead, injured and German Prisoner's Of War on board.

"Dad survived D-Day and made 11 more visits to Normandy, delivering more reinforcements, troops, tanks, artillery and supplies to support the ‘big push’ of the Germans out of France and to their final surrender in August 1944."