96-year-old ex-Grenadier Guard Barney Cresswell visited Windsor Castle for the first time in nearly 80 years 21012022 CREDIT Alex Welirang SSAFA .jpg
Former Lance Sergeant Bernard 'Barney' Cresswell (left) was taken around Windsor Castle by RQMS David Roper (Picture: Alex Welirang/SSAFA).
WWII

D-Day veteran revisits Windsor Castle – 80 years after his military career started there

Bernard 'Barney' Cresswell visited the castle for the first time since he was part of the garrison guarding it during the Second World War.

96-year-old ex-Grenadier Guard Barney Cresswell visited Windsor Castle for the first time in nearly 80 years 21012022 CREDIT Alex Welirang SSAFA .jpg
Former Lance Sergeant Bernard 'Barney' Cresswell (left) was taken around Windsor Castle by RQMS David Roper (Picture: Alex Welirang/SSAFA).

An 'inspirational' D-Day veteran has revisited Windsor Castle – where his military career began.

Ex-Grenadier Guard Bernard 'Barney' Cresswell and his family were shown around by the Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant of the Grenadier Guards, Warrant Officer Class Two David Roper.

The 96-year-old former lance sergeant was visiting Windsor Castle for the first time in nearly 80 years. He was part of the garrison guarding it during the Second World War.

RQMS Roper said: "We had been planning this as a surprise for Barney and his reaction didn't disappoint, he is an inspiration to us all. It was an honour to meet him.

"He is a very modest man who you can tell just got on with his job and did it extremely well; I know I can speak for the whole regiment when I say thank you to Barney and all those who served alongside him during those dark days."

Barney, a long-standing SSAFA Armed Forces charity volunteer, joined the Grenadier Guards in 1943 and began patrolling the corridors of Windsor Castle soon after.

At the time Barney did not realise the extent of the role he and his fellow Guardsmen were playing.

He said: "I've learned since that there was a big scare on at the time that German paratroops might land on the castle and hold the Royal Family.

"I suppose being a young squaddie, it didn't enter my head, you're just doing what they said to do, you're just given your orders and you get on with it."

First time in 80 years at Windsor Castle for ex grenadier 21012022 CREDIT Alex Welirang SSAFA .jpg
Ex-Grenadier Guard Bernard 'Barney' Cresswell, 96, and his family were met and shown around by the Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant of the Grenadier Guards, Warrant Officer Class Two David Roper (Picture: Alex Welirang/SSAFA).

Barney reflected on his role: "You're part of history, aren't you? And of course, she (the Queen) became Colonel of the regiment.

"I've always been proud and I'm a royalist anyway, I'm quite proud of that."

After guarding Windsor Castle, Barney was sent to France, landing in Normandy 12 days after D-Day, for which he was awarded a Legion d'Honneur.

He and his unit walked most of the way through Europe, serving in Berlin during the aftermath of the war, before being de-mobbed in 1947.

The former Grenadier Guard then served as a police officer for 30 years, and volunteered for SSAFA (Armed Forces Charity) at the Hampshire branch, Havant division for 29 years after that, retiring last year.