William Glen

D-Day Veteran Writes A Personal Memoir At 97

97-year-old Scottish veteran William Glen recalls his experiences at the Normandy Landings in his latest book.

William Glen

Glasgow-based British Army veteran William Glen was well into his nineties before he published his first book.

He has now written three fictional novels under the pen name 'Glen Williams', but 'Single File' is his personal memoir of the Normandy landings.

Listen to Forces Radio BFBS Scotland's Jim Gellatly speaking to William Glen below:

Mr Glen said: “The book is about my own experience during the Normandy landings.

"It was pretty rough – we were in action and fighting for two days when both of my legs were badly wounded by a mortar bomb.

"I lost four of my platoon at the same time."

He said he can remember what he saw "just as though it was yesterday”: “Nothing much happened to me. I went to Normandy, I never saw a German, I never fired a shot.

“But I was there, I got wounded. I was three months in hospital and I lost four mates.”

A corporal at the time of being wounded, serving with the Highland Light Infantry, he became a sergeant when he was demobilized in 1946.

He still carries shrapnel in his body, a harsh reminder of his time in the British Army.

William Glen with his brothers Alex and John
William Glen (left) with his brothers Alex (centre) and John (right), who also served with the Highland Light Infantry.

“I never felt any fear. I wasn’t frightened," he said.

"There was terrible noise where I was. The guns firing and the shells exploding. The enemy firing shells at us and our guns firing at them."

Mr Glen added: “In a few years’ time, there’ll be none of us left.

"There’ll be no survivors from the World War Two. There’ll be no survivors left from the invasion of… Normandy so I thought I’d put it down on paper so when I’m not here, somebody can read about it.”

The veteran, who now lives in a retirement home in Glasgow, later went on to have a successful career as a plumber.

After retiring, Mr Glen took a creative writing course, and it was an ambition fulfilled when his first novel was printed.

Carol Harvey, Deputy Manager at his retirement home said:

“Mr Glen gave the book to staff and tenants who have all really enjoyed reading his work.

“With his drive and energy for writing, Mr Glen is truly inspiring – proving that age is just a number when it comes to something you are passionate about.”


'Single File: Memories of the Normandy Landings' by Glen Williams is available for Kindle (priced £1.99), with all proceeds going to the veterans' charity Erskine.

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