War hero’s stories lift spirits on the ward
Chester war veteran Deryck, 92, has been regaling staff and patients at the Countess of Chester Hospital with stories from his experiences in the D-Day landings.
Deryck served with the Irish Guards Armoured Division and received the Legion of Honour award three years ago as part of celebrations to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the campaign in Normandy.
Then French president Francois Hollande decided to give the award to a number of veterans from the D-Day landings for services during the liberation of France in 1944. Having been just 19 at the time, Deryck remembers his time as a gunner in Sherman tanks with great pride and his stories have proven popular with everybody on the Intermediate Care Unit.
“We’ve loved hearing Deryck’s stories on the ward,” Ward Manager Deborah Conwell said. “As we move further into the 21st century we will meet fewer and fewer veterans from the second world war, so I think it is great that our staff get to speak to Deryck and hear about his experiences first hand. He even brought in his medals to show everyone!”
Deryck has been back to Normandy numerous times, recalling how great it was each time how friendly and grateful the locals are for what he and his fellow soldiers did.
Four years after Deryck fought for Queen and country the NHS was born.
This year as everyone connected with the health service celebrates its 70th birthday there will be activities throughout the year showcasing the past, present and future of the NHS.
As someone who has seen the NHS from its humble origins to the national treasure it is today, Deryck said: “Like all people I was delighted to see the introduction of the NHS. It’s something every working man has always cherished.”
Deborah added: “We’re all immensely proud to be working as part of our NHS, but hearing someone like Deryck speak and knowing how much he appreciates the service really drills home how important it is.”