D-Day: Lanarkshire veteran Ian Ritchie Forsyth recalls that fateful day

When Ian Ritchie Forsyth arrived at the gates of Belsen, he realised the depths to which a man could sink. (Pic: Wattie Cheung)
When Ian Ritchie Forsyth arrived at the gates of Belsen, he realised the depths to which a man could sink. (Pic: Wattie Cheung)

A 95-year-old from Hamilton is among the 300 veterans who are making their way to Normandy today.

Sergeant Ian Ritchie Forsyth (95) was a driver operator, working on reconnaissance for armoured division.

Ian and his comrades thought they were going to change the world but that quickly changed to fighting for their own survival. Undoubtedly, we owe the young man in this picture a debt of gratitude.

Ian and his comrades thought they were going to change the world but that quickly changed to fighting for their own survival. Undoubtedly, we owe the young man in this picture a debt of gratitude.

Prior to setting sail on the MV Boudicca to Bayeux with Poppyscotland today, he posed for a stunning portrait to highlight his own personal story of that fafetful day, 75 years ago.

Ian recalled: “When I first went abroad I, like a lot of others of my age group, thought we were going to change the world; that is what we were going to fight for.

“Unfortunately, that quickly changed to fighting for our own survival and that was difficult enough, until we arrived at the gates of Belsen.

“That woke us up to realise the depths to which a man can sink and why we were really there.

“My memory tells me that of the 20 men that made up our troop, only three remained physically unmarked, but mentally scarred for the rest of their lives.

“There is so much I would like to say about the changes that took place in us but that would require a few pages and not just a few lines.”

After the War, Mr Forsyth became a teacher.