D-Day Marine, 94, reclaims beret

Published: Friday 10th October 2014 by The News Editor

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A 94-year-old ex-Royal Marine who landed on Sword Beach during the D-Day landings has been re-presented with the famous green beret.

Frank Cramp, who retired from service in 1952 at the rank of Corporal, was delighted to be reunited with the distinguished headgear below the Dewerstone beauty spot on Dartmoor, where current Royal Marines receive their first green beret on completion of training.

Travelling all the way from Edmonton, Canada, where he emigrated in 1957, the presentation marked the end of an emotional tour of the Normandy beaches where Mr Cramp went ashore in 1944 with 45 Commando.

Mr Cramp gave Royal Marines an insight into his war experiences as he recounted how he found himself alone on Sword Beach when the landing craft he had been on had to retreat after hitting an obstacle, taking everyone else with it.

Meeting up with a Navy officer on the beach he was sent on a one-man mission to silence a German machine gun position.

Surviving this, and the war, with barely a scratch Mr Cramp gave back all his kit when he retired including his green beret.

So when he came to England for a visit, the Royal Marines Association and his daughters arranged for him to meet 42 Commando at Bickleigh Barracks in Devon – where Mr Cramp used to be based as an instructor.

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Cantrill, commanding officer of 42 Commando, said: “It was a great pleasure for me to host Frank.

“Hearing his extraordinary recollections of his landing on Sword Beach, and beyond, was fascinating and served as a reminder as to why Commando forces were first raised, and how they were employed.

“We discovered that Frank had always regretted not keeping his green beret when he was demobilised, and so we were delighted to re-present Frank with his Commando headgear, in the same spot on the edge of Dartmoor where modern Commandos receive theirs.

“He remembers saying to comrades in Normandy after a number of near death experiences that he must have a guardian angel and would probably live to be 100.

“He then said to me, with obvious glee, ‘Just six years to go, Rich’.

“I am so pleased that Frank, with great support from the Royal Marines Association, has remained a close member of the Royal Marines family – once a Marine, always a Marine.”

Mr Cramp, originally from Poplar in London, said he had enjoyed his visit immensely and was touched by the presentation.

“I was surprised and overwhelmed with the recognition and respect I received,” he added.

Published: Friday 10th October 2014 by The News Editor

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