Great Western Railway has named one of their trains after one of the last surviving D-Day veterans.
Intercity-Express Train 802006 now features the name ‘Harry Billinge’ and formed the 1015 service from Penzance to London Paddington after the naming ceremony yesterday.
To mark 75 years since the end of World War Two, Great Western Railway is naming 7 of the IET fleet with people who were involved in the conflict.
Harry Billinge from St Austell was awarded an MBE in the 2020 New Years Honours List for his fundraising efforts for the Normandy Memorial Trust.
In June 1944 Harry was one of the first to land on ‘Gold’ beach as part of the D-Day landings. As a sapper attached to the 44 Royal Engineer Commandos, he was just one of only four to survive from his unit.
Harry said: “I am thrilled that this train is being named after me, but this is about remembering the fine men who fought that day, lots of whom never went back home again.
“It’s important that their memory is remembered, and I hope this train will carry that message to thousands of people every day.”
Johnny Mercer MP, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, said: “Harry’s an inspiration and a daily reminder of that incredible generation. We can never say thank you enough for the privileges and freedom we enjoy today because of your sacrifices 75 years ago.”
GWR Engineering Director Simon Green said: “We are honoured to be naming one of our Intercity Express Trains after Harry Billinge MBE, who undoubtedly took part in one of the most important battles of World War Two.
“We at Great Western have a long history of naming trains after Great Westerners, the past and present heroes from across our network.
“It is right that we honour some of those heroes of the war effort, remembering the sacrifice, bravery and tenacity that later generations owe so much to.”
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