Challenge The Wild
D-Day 80 Expedition
Fundraising for Walking With The Wounded
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On 6th June 1944, Second Lieutenant Gilbert Jones RE was approaching Juno Beach in his landing craft. He folded up his maps, popped them in his pocket, checked his equipment and disembarked. Operation OVERLORD had started.
When he died aged 98, all of Gilbert's treasured memorabilia from that day was locked inside a metal stationary trunk. Personal possessions included notebooks, photos, his whistle, and the three Top Secrets maps he had kept in his pocket that day. He had always wanted to go back to the beaches, to honour those he had fought alongside, and give thanks for his survival and the peace that ensued. Sadly, he never got the chance.
Now however, his grandson, Dan Searson, a retired RAMC Officer who’s seen action in the Balkans, East Africa and the Gulf, is set to follow in his footsteps.
On 6th June 2024, a team of veterans will land on Juno Beach, take back Gilbert's prized possessions, and pay their respects to those that gave so much. After a Fish and Chips supper, paying ‘tribute’ to the Fisherman that still had to fish the seas avoiding mines and German Submarines; they will light a Lamp Light of Peace at 9.15pm French Time on each of the 5 Normandy Beaches. American, Canadian, British and Australian representatives will attend their relevant beach to lead the tribute.
The Expedition team will then embark on a 4-day, 150km hike visiting all the Normandy Landing sites. The route will take in Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword beaches, as well as important monuments and memorials of the campaign. It will be a fitting tribute to those that fought for the freedom we all enjoy today.
As a proud supporter and Ambassador of Walking With The Wounded, Dan Searson, founder of Challenge The Wild, is undertaking this expedition in support of the charity and to fly the flag for what veterans can achieve in life on leaving the service.
Dan served as an Army Officer and Medic for almost 30 years, during which time he was deployed to the Balkans, East Africa and the Middle East. He was awarded several British Army Commendations during his service. Dan, like many others, was injured during his service, and is keen to demonstrate what veterans can achieve.
Walking With The Wounded was founded on the back of an extraordinary expedition to the North Pole. It showcased the determination of our ex-military to overcome their injuries – mental and physical - and raised awareness of the need.
This charity has gone on to create vital, innovative employment and mental health programmes for veterans and their families, so that those who are struggling can get back on their feet and make a positive contribution once more.
Why? Because those who served, deserve.