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Merchant sailor awarded top honour for his role in D-Day

PUBLISHED: 10:45 15 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:45 15 November 2017

Roy Goodings from Gorleston with his legion d'honneur medal.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Roy Goodings from Gorleston with his legion d'honneur medal. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

A man who made 10 trips to and from Normandy as part of the D-Day landings has been presented with France’s highest honour.

Roy Goodings from Gorleston with his legion d'honneur medal.
Picture: Nick ButcherRoy Goodings from Gorleston with his legion d'honneur medal. Picture: Nick Butcher

Roy Goodings, 92, who lives in Bateley Avenue, Gorleston, was awarded the Legion d’Honneur medal for his role discharging vitally important cargo to the Allied Forces in Normandy.

He was just 19 years old at the time of the Normandy Landings having joined the Merchant Navy a couple of years before, not long after his father died.

With a crew of 10 aboard a small ship, weighing under 600 tonnes, he helped transport fuel supplies and other cargo to mainland Europe.

Mr Goodings said the cargo was vital, adding: “Nothing is going to move without petrol.”

Roy Goodings from Gorleston with his legion d'honneur medal.
Picture: Nick ButcherRoy Goodings from Gorleston with his legion d'honneur medal. Picture: Nick Butcher

He was involved in the D-Day landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944.

On that first crossing from the South Coast, several of the crew were hit by the bombardment of artillery.

He added: “There were quite a few men wounded aboard. The Germans were not standing about. We were really lucky there were not more.”

They landed on Sword Beach and made around 
10 trips back and forth from England and the crew were tasked with discharging the vital cargo safely.

Mr Goodings said on one trip back up the Thames to reload they had a collision with a Norwegian ship during a black out.

He also recalled one moment when he met his future wife’s brother John in Normandy, who had not had any bread for a week.

Mr Goodings asked the ship’s chef to help find some food to feed him and the other hungry servicemen.

The ship’s hull was boarded out with wood 
in Sunderland before making the crossing so it could store barrels of 100 octane petrol.

The wood lining was installed to absorb any sparks from artillery striking the metal hull which could a catastrophic explosion.

The boat was also chosen because it had to have a shallow drift for beaching on the French shores.

Mr Goodings, who was born in Yarmouth, trained aboard the British Merchant Navy school TS Vindicatrix.

Upon returning to Yarmouth he continued seafaring and eventually became a port pilot.

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