Rear-Admiral Edward Gueritz CB OBE DSC
As a 24-year-old Lieutenant-Commander, Rear Admiral Edward Gueritz was a principal beach-master on Sword beach on June 6, landing at around 8am, as he put it "part of the beach group whose job it was to make order out of chaos".
He was responsible for helping landing craft beach, unload troops or tanks and then retract safely so that the next craft could come in. It wasn't new to Gueritz - he'd already been the principal beach-master in the Madagascar landings in 1942.
Gueritz was on Sword Beach for 19 days until he was wounded. "I had just put my helmet on but didn't duck quickly enough," he recalled. It wasn't until he removed his helmet at the field hospital much later that he noticed the big hole in it and the wound to his head. Without the helmet (and without the skill of a neurosurgeon back home in Britain), Gueritz knows he would not have survived.
Rear Admiral Gueritz was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in 1942, to which a Bar was added in 1944 after his Normandy service. He was made an OBE in 1956 after Suez, and is president of the Royal Naval Association.