WWII Veteran looks back on his D-Day experience 75 years ago

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Keith Woodby, WW2 Veteran

Keith Woodby is a World War II veteran, and 75 years after taking part in the battle of Normandy, The U.S. Navy veteran says he can still hear the sounds of shells and bombs dropping around him.

“That was a long day,” Woodby said. “You would have thought as many bombs as they dropped on that beach, there’d be nothing left.”

As the destroyer Woodby was on was struck by enemy fire and began to sink, Woodby was left with no choice but to swim, as his comrades around him quickly became casualties.

“The shells were dropping closer and closer, so we pulled up anchor to get away from there and get behind the smoke screen,” Woodby said. “They hit us midship, broke in two; she went down.”

He attempted to swim to a nearby island, but thankfully he was stopped as he realized he was about to be under the bow of a boat that was coming at him.

“There was a little island, so I started swimming for that,” Woodby said. “I looked up, and I was right under the bow of a boat. But I learned later that that little island was all Germans on there … I wouldn’t have been very safe there either. A whale boat rescued us.”

The Navy veteran was lucky to survive, and went on to build a life for himself after the war.

“I married a nice lady,” Woodby said. “We were together 70 years, and we had four children.”

When asked about June 6, 1944, he approves of the job that was completed by himself and others.

“I think we’d done a great job, Woodby said. “We had to help those people get rid of Adolph [Hitler].”

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