Photo: World War II veteran Joe Corless was the guest of honour for Bridgend County Borough Council’s commemoration event to mark Armed Forces Day

A D-Day veteran was the guest of honour for a commemorative event held in Bridgend for Armed Forces Day.

Ninety-four-year-old Joe Corless joined other servicemen and students from the local military preparation college for the raising of the Armed Forces Day flag outside the Civic Offices in Bridgend.

Joe also placed a poppy wreath in remembrance of the fallen troops he fought alongside during World War II.

Although he has lived in Bridgend County Borough for more than 70 years, Joe was originally born in Torquay. He enlisted for the Royal Marines in Plymouth in 1941, lying about the fact he was underage at only 16!

He was determined to serve his country, and on 6 June 1944 he was among the courageous British troops who made the D-Day assault on Normandy’s beaches. From 7:30am on that fateful morning, Joe drove the landing craft that transported troops on to Sword beach, the easternmost of five landing areas.

Seventy five years on, Joe was honoured to return to the Normandy coastline for the recent anniversary events – a trip which he said “brought back a lot of memories.”

Following the end of the war, Joe left the Royal Marines in 1946 and moved to Caerau a year later. He has since lived in Maesteg and Aberkenfig, and is now settled in Bridgend.

Joe was inspired to join the Royal Marines by his father who had fought in the Boer War, and he still belongs to the Swansea branch of the Royal Marines.

“I grew up on my Dad’s stories so always wanted to be a Royal Marine”, Joe said. “And I still am.”

Cllr Richard Young, Cabinet Member for Communities and Armed Forces Champion, said:

“Without heroes like Joe the world would be a very different place. We are indebted to Joe, and others like him, and it was an honour to have him as our special guest for our Armed Forces celebrations.”