Troops landing on the shores of Normandy is one of the iconic moments of World War II. Ray Lambert, 98, gave the world the opportunity to see the invasion through his eyes.
Approaching the Shore
Ray Lambert was a 23-year-old Army medic at the time of the D-Day landing on June 6, 1944. Over 150,000 British, Canadian, and American forces landed on the shores in this battle which ended up being a turning point for the allies in World War II.
Out of the 73,000 U.S. soldiers who battled, 2,500 of them perished. In 2019, he went back to Normandy for the commemoration of that fateful day.
In an interview with CBS, Lambert told Jan Crawford that he was at the front of a crowded Higgins boat quickly approaching the Normandy shore. Lambert said, “It was very crowded. cold, guys were seasick.:
Originally Lambert and his brother were from the Alabama countryside. They both joined the Army at the same time.
“We were both married. And we agreed that if anything happened to either one of us that the other one would take care of our wives. I had a son that I’d never seen.”Ray Lambert
Landing on the French Beach
Death and destruction were evident long before the men reached the beach. Lambert said, “As we got in close enough… we could see dead guys on the beach.”
As the landing ramp opened up to let the men off, Lambert was shot in the elbow. Despite being injured, Lambert assisted a drowning man.
The drowning man was only the first person Lambert helped. In total, he saved around 15 men on D-Day. Many he pulled up to the shore and helped them find shelter.
When asked how he kept going, Lambert replied, “You really didn’t have a choice You either drown or move forward.”
He received shrapnel wounds in his thigh and became pinned under a ramp while saving a soldier. His only thought was that he had to save the soldier.
“…I asked God to give me one more chance to save this guy’s life,” Lambert said. The ramp lifted, and Lambert and the man broke free, making it to shore. However, Lambert’s back was broken, and he lost consciousness.
He wanted to speak for those who no longer could, publishing the book “Every Man a Hero” commemorating all the soldier’s efforts in the pivotal day.