A KIDDERMINSTER veteran relived moments of his time in the Merchant Navy during a week of D-Day celebrations.

William Bennett, aged 93, of Claughton Street, was “treated like a hero” for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, sailing on a cruise to visit key wartime locations with the British Legion.

The naval veteran is one of five living members of the 1944 Alliance Birmingham branch, having worked on the England to France pipeline on Gold Beach around the time of the landings in the Second World War. He also dealt with debris that made its way to the beach, which included clearing dead bodies.

William travelled to Dover on Sunday, June 2, where he boarded the MV Boudicca cruise ship, setting sail for Dunkirk.

The veterans also visited Poole, where the Marine commandos gave unarmed combat demonstrations, and displayed vehicles on the dock.

The ship then travelled to Portsmouth where the main celebrations took place, with the Queen, French President Emmanuel Macron, and US President Donald Trump were in attendance.

William said: “It was absolutely fantastic. Out of this world. Everyone made me feel like a celebrity.”

He said the most emotional part for him was during the invasion re-enactment.

“There were thousands of people lining the streets, they were standing on top of pillboxes,” he said. “On that last bit of beach there was this big noticed that said thank you. It brought a few tears to the eyes.”

The group then sailed to Le Havre in France, followed by seven warships, to visit Bayeux Cemetery.

William had the chance to speak with Prime Minister Theresa May and said to her: “Don’t think about the bad times. Think about the good.”

They then went on to Arromanches, which William said was “like going home”.

The veterans were welcomed back to Britian with crowds singing wartime classics and waving unions jacks.

William said: “It was a lovely welcome back. The whole trip was fantastic. This is the first time anyone has done anything like this in 75 years.”