The grandson of a Suffolk D-Day veteran said the sapper would have been 'proud but traumatised' as events take place to mark the 80th anniversary of the landings.

Stowmarket man Ron Ablewhite was among the crew of the last tank to venture ashore during the D-Day landings at Gold Beach in Normandy in June 1944 and witnessed much of the carnage unfolding as landing forces were attacked by German gun positions.

On the day of the landing, he was driving a Churchill Mk V tank and went ashore at King Red sector just to the west of La Riviere.

READ MORE: Tributes to war veteran Ron, the man in the last tank on D-Day at Normandy's Gold Beach

East Anglian Daily Times: Ron Ablewhite was in the last tank at Gold Beach in NormandyRon Ablewhite was in the last tank at Gold Beach in Normandy (Image: Submitted)Ceremonies have been taking place in France and the UK to commemorate the occasion, with members of the Royal Family, including King Charles III and Queen Camilla, joining UK politicians in Portsmouth on Wednesday, from where allied troops set sail to liberate France.

Mr Ablewhite's grandson Shaun Cobbold said: "We think that grandad continued to have nightmares, especially during his latter life, the sad commencement of the war in Ukraine must have brought back lots of memories for him.

"Grandad would have been extremely proud but also very traumatised by the anniversary.  In his diaries he talks about one of his colleagues in the next room to him taking their own life."

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Mr Ablewhite died at home aged 98 on March 30, 2022 and was well known for his involvement in local Salvation Army bands as he had a passion for music.

East Anglian Daily Times: Ron Ablewhite witnessed the carnage unfold after landing on Gold Beach in NormandyRon Ablewhite witnessed the carnage unfold after landing on Gold Beach in Normandy (Image: Sarah Lucy Brown)Prior to his death, he had told his grandson how he was 'very, very scared' when he was taking part in the landings and 'was just praying for it all to be over'.

His lasting memory was of suffering from seasickness and losing two days of sleep, while he also recalled watching as two tanks exploded ahead of him after coming under fire.

Mr Ablewhite, who grew up in Dedham, also suffered shrapnel injuries in Blerick near the River Maas in the Netherlands during a German attack when he went to rescue a steel tow rope used to pull stricken tanks, which had become stuck.

For much of his life, he worked as a carpenter and he was twice married, first to Muriel Spiers, then to Joyce Wainwright. He also enjoyed watching football.

READ MORE: Suffolk news