British D-Day veteran Leonard ‘Ted’ Emmings, who was a naval Coxswain serving on a small landing craft which landed 36 Canadians on Juno beach in France, poses for photographs backdropped by the map used to plan the Normandy D-Day landings at Southwick House near Portsmouth, England, May 9, 2019. Southwick House was the forward headquarters of the allied forces preparing for the invasion of Normandy in 1944, the nerve center of D-Day. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
SOUTHWICK, England – The night before the D-Day landings, Leonard "Ted" Emmings and his shipmates on a Royal Navy landing craft learned their mission was to ferry 36 Canadian troops to Juno Beach, a stretch of Normandy coast fortified with artillery, mortars, mines and machine gun emplacements. The men made a pact: Whatever happened, they would look after those who didn't make it back.
The next morning, the teenage British coxswain pointed his landing craft at the French shoreline and gunned the engines. The boat struck a mine but made it to the beach, where the crew discovered the ramp was jammed.
Emmings and another crewman climbed over the side to free it.
"I got back on the craft but he didn't," Emmings told The Associated Press. "That's the reason I go over there, because we made that promise."