6th June 1944. D Day, a very significant day in the history of mankind, and albeit on a smaller scale quite a number of South Africans did actually participate in it. The South African Naval Force (assisting the Royal Navy) is one such entity that did and this is one of these South African heroes to come from the D day landings.
Here Sub Lieutenant Anthony Large BEM, South African Naval Force (Volunteers), of Durban, South Africa, is seen taking a bearing on the ship’s compass on board HMS HOLMES whilst she was helping to guard the Allied supply lines to and from the Normandy beachhead. He won his British Empire Medal BEM whilst he was a rating.
The BEM during the war was a gallantry or meticulous service medal and was generally awarded for gallantry in World War 2 to uniformed personnel, usually non commissioned ranks below Warrant Officer. It is a very significant British decoration.
British Empire Medal (BEM)
Photograph copyright and caption reference – Imperial War Museum