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Guildford Man Has Tattoo of World War 2 Commando Hero

Published on: 20 Mar, 2023
Updated on: 23 Mar, 2023

Commando Roy Maxwell in the 1940s

A Guildford man has had a tattoo of a centenarian World War 2 hero tattooed on his arm.

In 2022 veteran commando Roy Maxwell was in Normandy for the D-Day commemorations with the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans.

On June 5, the day before the D-Day anniversary, the charity took a group of veterans to a service at the Pegasus Museum. After the service Roy met Anthony Lang and his son from Guildford. The old soldier spent some time chatting with them and having pictures taken.

Mr Lang  said, “I have met Roy Maxwell many times during my Normandy trips for D-Day and last year Roy had just turned 100.

“While speaking to him he noticed I had some World War 2 tattoos on my arm and was excited to see Piper Bill Millin tattooed above my wrist. He told me that they knew one another.

Veteran commando Roy Maxwell with Anthony Lang

“When I promised Roy that I would have his portrait tattooed on to my arm he was completely taken back but it’s an absolute honour to wear him on my arm and tell his stories to everyone who will listen.”

The tattoo on Anthony Lang’s arm

Jane Daneshfar-Nia, Roy Maxwell’s daughter said “Dad was delighted that Anthony had taken the trouble to find him and so flattered that he’d gone to the lengths of having the tattoo done. Roy was very impressed with the tattoo and astounded at the likeness.”

Dick Goodwin, Vice President, Taxi Charity for Military Veterans said, “101-year-old Roy Maxwell served with No 4 Commando in June 1944, as part of the 1st Special Service Brigade landing on Sword beach on D-Day.”

An account of 4 Commando’s formation and its role in the D-Day landings can be found within the Wikipedia article: No. 4 Commando.

Mr Goodwin continued: “Our veterans always attract crowds of people who wish to speak with them whenever we escort them to the continent for commemoration services and we were delighted to receive a message from Anthony to say he wanted to share news of his tattoo with Roy.”

Roy Maxwell on Sword Beach by Ouisterham, Normandy carrying a photo of himself with his comrade “Mad” Piper Bill Millin, the personal piper of Lord Lovat Fraser whose Commando Brigade landed on Sword Beach on D-Day. Although not officially allowed, Piper Bill Millin marched up and down the beach during the landings and then later as they moved inland, as depicted in the film The Longest Day. Over Roy’s shoulder can be seen the statue of Piper Millin who died in 2010.

Historical note: “D-Day” is the day on which a military operation is to be initiated. D-Day has become synonymous with the Normandy landings during World War II, on June 6, 1944, however it is a term used generally in military planning along with H-Hour (for the precise time in hours and minutes) an operation will commence.

In forward planning, the terms are useful as precise dates and times will not be known until closer to the operation. D-Day itself was postponed from earlier dates because of adverse weather.

Roy, having seen an image of the tattoo, gives a thumbs up.

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