ACTORS have brought the harrowing D-Day experiences of five York’ Normandy veterans to a new audience.

Playwright Helena Fox has written a play, Bomb Happy, based upon the verbatim testimonies of veterans Ken Smith, Ken Cooke, George Meredith, Albert Barritt and Dennis Haydock, who died recently.

She said the play, which commemorated the French Government’s presentation of the Legion D’Honneur to the veterans, was commissioned by the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in partnership with Everwitch Theatre, to be performed during the recent Railways in Wartime weekend.

There have also been rehearsed readings at the University of York and at York Explore library, which veterans attended.

Helena said the library reading was dedicated to the memory of Guardsman Haydock, who passed away without hearing the script.

She said: “I hope this script pays tribute to his bravery and to his character.

“It has been, without doubt, the most humbling experience of my life to work with the Normandy Veterans, their wives and widows over the past eight months, to get to know them and to listen to and share in their memories and learn about their incredible experiences.

“It has been a great honour to be trusted with their memories and the responsibility of respectfully preserving their experiences through theatre is one I have not undertaken lightly.”

Actor Angus Fox, who performed the words of Ken ‘Smudger’ Smith, said it had been the most moving experience of his acting career.

Ken’s testimony included: “I haven’t seen anybody dead before and we’re in the water wading to the shore and we’re literally brushing against what looks like logs and they’re just bodies rolling in the surf - people that we know, um, I mean I go from an eighteen, nineteen-year-old to an adult in twelve hours.”

Helena said she hoped the play could go on tour, and might also be taken into secondary schools.