Ed Miliband today met a D-Day veteran who served alongside his late father Ralph 70 years ago in the Normandy landings.
The Labour leader described his encounter with 89-year-old Mark Radley, who was tracked down by the party, as an “incredibly moving” reminder of young soldiers’ heroism in the Second World War.
Mr Radley and Mr Miliband senior, who died in 1994, were shipmates on HMS Hilary, the command vessel for the landings on Juno Beach.
The Labour leader’s father, who fled to Britain aged 16 to escape Nazi persecution of the Jews in Belgium, served as a naval translator intercepting German communications.
His shipmate, a retired schoolmaster from Bangor in North Wales, was a radar operator monitoring German military movements.
Mr Miliband told him: “It’s incredibly moving for me to get a chance to meet you because I feel like it’s a connection with somebody who served with my Dad all those years ago and he’s not around to talk to about it anymore.”
He said: “It’s hard to imagine today that people still alive were fighting for our freedom in a struggle of life and death. Our country owes a huge debt to people like Mark.”
Mr Miliband said afterwards: “Hearing it today again from someone who was there brings it all back and brings it home what an incredible thing brave people did for our country.
"I don’t think he would have seen himself as a hero. He would have seen himself as doing the right thing and doing his duty.
“But when I talk to someone like Mark, it is heroic, it feels heroic. They were heroes for our country and what they did has preserved the freedoms we all take for granted today.Reuse content