A 93-year-old Légion d’Honneur winner has shared his remarkable wartime story over the airwaves with the borough's hospital trust.

Herbert "Bert" Holcroft, from Leigh, joined the Royal Navy at 17 and was serving on the warship HMS Petunia by the age of 20.

It was aboard this ship that Bert helped to save the lives of 60 soldiers when an American ship struck a mine during the invasion of Normandy.

As the stranded American soldiers came aboard, their commanding officer ordered them to storm the beach, despite them not having any weapons.

And as those 60 soldiers followed orders, many of the unarmed men died on the beach.

Herbert spoke recently to Hospital Radio Wrightington presenter Veronika Steven.

"I only wish that more of them would have lived, but they lived in me,” Bert said.

Bert was also involved in a near miss when two torpedoes were fired at the ship he was serving on.

He told Veronika: "When you say a prayer the whole earth vanishes and you only wish and hope that you’d been a good guy.”

Serving in the Royal Navy was difficult for Bert to come to terms with and it was 12 years before he felt able to discuss his experiences.

He said: “I cried for days and weeks because I had lived and others hadn’t.”

Bert has since been able to appreciate his own efforts.

“I did feel that I did some good somewhere,” he added.

Bert received France’s highest military honour, the Légion d’Honneur, in 2016.

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As part of Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust's (WWL) involvement in The Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance (VCHA), and its commendation as a Veteran Aware Hospital, a red poppy is placed on those patient’s boards who are veterans or serving members of the armed forces.

This acts as a prompt for staff, patients and visitors to engage and acknowledge their service, while also helping to ensure that those patients have access to specific support information and prompt any necessary referrals to specific veteran care providers.

WWL’s Armed Forces Champion Lesley Holding said: “Hearing Bert’s amazing account of his experiences in service brings home the importance of veterans having the opportunity to share their stories.

“As well as hopefully helping them to process and understand their experiences, it also allows staff who care for them to get a glimpse into their experiences in service.

This helps to provide a holistic picture of the veteran rather than seeing and treating only their obvious symptoms.”

Bert's interview is available to listen to on WWL's social media channels.