D Day Veteran: Ted OWENS (41 Commando)

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: December 14, 2018

Category: General

Last weekend I made a 8 1/2 hour round trip to Pembroke Dock and had the utter privilege of meeting and photographing an incredibly special person; Ted Owens.

Ted is a D-Day and Battle of the Bulge Veteran having been a Royal Marine Commando, part of 41 Commando during World War 2 and the time I spent with him at our first meeting I’ll never forget.

I’m actually struggling how to put into words how much of an impact meeting Ted has had on me. Hearing his stories and listening to his experiences you can’t help but be in awe but there he is going about his life with most people around having no idea of the sacrifice, the pain, the suffering he and his brothers endured. We all owe so much to Ted and many others like him who selflessly fought for our freedom.

I am honoured to have taken his portrait and I look forward to more times with Ted recording his memoirs.

#neverforget

Ted Owens 41 Commando Normandy D Day Veteran

“We didn’t have a clue where we were going or what we were doing. The only thing we had, we had French money, and we thought, “Well its got to be France”. And that’s the only news we had. Anyway, when we was going in, onto the beach, on a Landing craft, which was carrying two tanks as well, on the RT, the big radio, very very loud, it says, “Right-o boys!”; who said it I don’t know, I think it was Lord Lovat, himself, I don’t know for sure, he said, “Take your tin hats off, throw them over the side and wear your green berets with pride.”.

I think it was a crazy thing to say, but we all done it. Every man in the unit, we landed there with our green berets on. We wore them all through the war. Not once did we wear a tin hat. And that’s something to be very, very proud of.”

Ted Owens 41 Commando Normandy D Day Veteran

“When I landed on the beach, there was obviously a couple of dead men there and wounded. And so then we realised it was the real thing. Right in front of us, at the top of beach, there was a huge hotel. The Germans fortified it to look like a big bunker. All the windows were all blocked up, bricked up, and just left apertures for them to fire through. On the lower deck they had two heavy guns. The second floor they had all machine guns and on top, and up on the roof was all riflemen. So it was like a coconut gallery to them, and we were under very, very heavy fire.

Alongside of us was a tank which had been knocked out. The one that was in front of me was a flail tank. It had a big chain in the front and he run up and down the beach to make sure there was no mines for us to step on. We all collected behind the tank and the tank would take us up the beach. You could still hear the tannoy shouting orders. And the order was, “Concentrate your fire on the hotel.”. So what I said was, “I can’t see from there.” So I run over to where this tank had been knocked out, laid me rifle over the back end of the tank, and when I looked through my sights I could see right through into the aperture. It was only about 100-150 yards. I couldn’t miss.

I fired about five, six rounds into the aperture at figures I could see moving. And next thing, over comes a shell, hits the top of the tank and all the metal came down on top of me. All on my left shoulder, my chest, and me back. And I don’t know today how many pieces they took out of my shoulder, but I’ve still got 14 pieces of metal in my left shoulder now. Two of them are actually embedded in the shoulder bone.”

Ted Owens 41 Commando Normandy D Day Veteran

Ted with his Buddy, Dai O’Toole

The short interview I recorded with Ted about his experience during the Normandy D-Day Landings on the 6th June 1944, will be available to listen to over on our HE SHOOTS, HE DRAWS podcast in an episode released around Christmas time so be sure to keep an eye out for it.

Thanks for looking in.
Catch you next time,
Glyn

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15 Comments

  1. Timothy Sargent

    Great pictures. Great story. Glad you had the opportunity. Been looking forward to seeing this- your passion (can I use that word? Lol) concerning this gentleman has shown through your conversations with Dave.

    Looking forward to this interview on the podcast!

    Reply
    • Glyn

      I was completely and utterly in awe when sat with Ted. So glad I was able to take his portrait and record a short interview. Been thinking about him a lot since we met and there’s more I want to do; more pictures but I also have an overwhelming urge to write a book on his memoirs that can be used to raise money for a Military Charity of his choosing.

      I’ll keep you posted
      Glyn

      Reply
  2. Ellie de Jonge

    What a wonderful story. We all have to be grateful of those heroes

    Reply
    • Glyn

      We sure do Ellie
      Thanks for looking in
      Glyn

      Reply
  3. Christopher Thorpe

    As a Brit living in America in my 50’s – I totally relate to your passion (sorry used the word) and agree its a privilege to celebrate people like Ted. You have bought out your inner Annie with these pictures – they’re at a whole new level – amazing work.

    Reply
    • Glyn

      Christopher…that means a lot … thanks so much!
      Regards
      Glyn

      Reply
  4. Liz Greer

    Ted, thank you for your brave and selfless service.

    Reply
    • Glyn

      Thanks Liz; I’ll make sure Ted gets your message
      Glyn

      Reply
  5. Cathy Baitson Weatherston

    What an Amazing story Ted.
    You’re like a cat with 9 lives and you’re still standing.
    I just want to give you a (((HUG)))

    Reply
    • Glyn

      Cathy, I’ll let Ted know 😉
      Thanks
      Glyn

      Reply
  6. Paul Chapman

    Amazing story. There aren’t many like him left so it’s great that you’ve captured a glimpse of what it was like in WWII for all of us to hear and appreciate.

    Wishing him (and you) a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for 2019.

    Reply
    • Glyn

      Thanks so much Paul; I’ll pass on your comments to Ted for sure when I see him.
      Very Best to you and yours for Christmas and the New Year.

      Cheers
      Glyn

      Reply
  7. Chris Boulton

    We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Ted. A real-life, living hero. Ted and his comrades fought so we don’t have to. We will never know what Ted had to go through but we will always be grateful – Thank you Ted.

    Reply
    • Glyn

      Thanks so much for commenting Chris.
      I’ll definitely pass your message on to Ted.

      Regards
      Glyn

      Reply
  8. Raymond jason Phillips

    Hi Glyn, I loved to here Ted’s story as it reminded me of my late Grandad who experienced similar during D-day. My Grandad Billy Timbers was a Royal Marine Commando (48) who was part of the special service brigade and landed at Juno Beach on D-day. He was severely wounded on the 7th June 1944 with shrapnel wounds the his legs chest and face resulting in him losing an eye. Thank you sharing Teds story as we should never forget these brave men’s sacrifice.

    Best regards

    Jason

    Reply

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