D-Day veteran Cyril Nixon has tea with mayor of Ipswich
A D-Day veteran from Ipswich has been treated to a celebration lunch with the mayor after being awarded a French Legion of Honour medal for his role in the Normandy landings.
Cyril Nixon, 92, who served with the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards, played a key role on June 6, 1944, by riding in a support lorry used to refuel tanks heading into France.
Driving around a half mile behind, the fuel lorries were often targeted by the Germans as the tanks would be left stranded without them.
But Mr Nixon, who travelled with the convoy all the way to the River Seine, said he was ‘just playing his part’.
“We all had our little contribution,” he said.
“I was only 18 and back then I was 6ft 4ins and was judged too big to go into the tanks so my job was to go along with a big lorry full of fuel.
“The majority of people in my regiment were transferred from cavalry to tanks so were much smaller men. I was one of the fresh ones so was much bigger.
“On D-Day night they were trying to blast away at us, the bullets were coming down like rain.”
“It had taken a lot of training but on the day everything went berserk because of the weather.
“They had to think on their feet whoever was in charge.”
Mr Nixon, of Dorchester Road, Ipswich, said he had a few close shaves while fighting in France.
“I did get a Tiger tank shell right through the lorry front to back once,” he said.
“All the army stuff was canvas on top and the fuel wasn’t as high as the metal sides.
“I was in the lorry and it just went right through the canvas. There were lots of incidents like that.
“We had occasions where we were machine gunned and they were after us because they knew the fuel was important.”
Mr Nixon and his family were invited for tea and cake with the Mayor of Ipswich, Councillor Roger Fern, on Wednesday after he recently received a Chevalier de la Legion D’Honneur medal from the French government.
Mr Nixon said he had a great time.
“I didn’t think it would be so much fun but it was really good,” he said. “It was a lovely family gathering and the mayor was really good to me.”
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