A SECOND World War veteran is at the heart of a new series of videos highlighting the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Veterans’ Voices, which is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Chancellor using LIBOR funds, has sought out veterans throughout Scotland in a bid to compile high-quality filmed interviews to cover every conflict in the past 80 years.

Charles Horne, who joined the Navy when he was just a teenager, is featured in the first three Veterans’ Voices stories.

Born in Prestonpans in November 1925, Charles had previously worked on a fishing boat, called the Thorntree, before joining the Navy in January 1944.

He said: “I went to join up when I was 17 and a half.

“I went up to George Street [in Edinburgh] and I saw the petty officer and he says to me, ‘Away go hame laddie, you’ll be getting your papers shortly!’ And I did get them not long after that so that’s how I got into the Navy.

“I was quite enjoying the fishing when I left, actually, and my mother and my dad didn’t want me to leave the fishing.

“My mother was getting wages from me, you see – it was helping to provide for the rest of the family.

“And she was starting to lose that but what I did do when I got my wages in the Navy, which was 12 and sixpence, I sent 10 shillings a week home to my mother and she drew that every week as a form of pension and I kept two and sixpence.”

Charles, who turns 95 this year, was on the MMS Motor Minesweeper 291 and also talks about his D-Day experiences.

Now living in Port Seton, he said: “The ship I was in was a shallow draft ship, which meant we were meant to go close in, in front of the landing craft.

“So I was at Omaha Beach head really.

“A lot of people have said, ‘How were you at Omaha when you were in the British Navy?’

“Well, the British minesweepers, the British shallow draft minesweepers, swept in front of both American landings. We swept in and cut mines adrift.

“Two ships behind us, the other two minesweepers, they were disposing of the mines and another two ships were laying buoys to mark the passage, the safe passage, and then the landing craft went in.

“That’s what we did at D-Day, under fire of course, although we got fairly well in before they started to fire upon us.”

Veterans’ Voices is a further addition to Poppyscotland’s expanding learning resources for young people.

The project will feature in Bud, the charity’s mobile museum, which reaches more than 30,000 individuals through school visits and public events every year.

The films are also a core component of the VE Day 75th Anniversary digital resource, which has proved especially popular with those home schooling during the current Covid-19 lockdown.

Gordon Michie, head of fundraising and learning at Poppyscotland, was delighted with the first three videos and said Charles, along with other participants Mary Sim and Ian Forsyth, had “incredible stories to tell”.

He said: “Over the next two years we will capture scores of personal recollections so that these stories can live on.

“This important project will see us interview at least one veteran from every conflict in which the British Armed Forces have been involved since 1939.

“Veterans’ Voices will feature a range of veterans of different ages, backgrounds and experiences.”