As the nation marks 80 years since D-Day, a Hertfordshire soldier's account has revealed what the Normandy landings were like for those involved.

Troops from the UK, the US, Canada, and France attacked German forces on the coast of northern France, on June 6, 1944, in the largest military seaborne operation ever attempted.

D-Day marked the start of the campaign to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe, and involved the simultaneous landing of tens of thousands of troops on five separate beaches in Normandy.

Among the soldiers was George Drew Fanshawe, of the 86th Field Regiment in Hertfordshire, who landed on Gold Beach.

Hertfordshire County Council’s Archives and Local Studies team uncovered his account of the landings to provide a unique look at the harrowing events of 80 years ago.

D-Day took place on June 6, 1944.D-Day took place on June 6, 1944.

In the account, he said: "The sight from the deck was the most incredible I’ve ever seen.

"About 15 miles away was the French coast covered in mist and smoke. To our right and left and behind us were ships of every sort and size, all stationary, nothing happening and only a very occasional shell from the mainland.

"Then about an hour before 'H-hour' the whole fleet came alive, little boats, LCA’s and LCNs were spewed out of bigger ones and busily went to the other boats.

"Our frigate for its LCM which came alongside and the sailors told us it was time to go, in tones that made it clear they thought they were as good as killing us. Little did they know that the soldiers couldn’t have cared less as long as they got off the sea onto land, any land."

Troops from the 86th Field Regiment hit the beach an hour after the first wave and helped set up a supply dump, before moving inland to capture key villages and bridges.

As the war progressed and the Allies pushed towards Germany, George and his regiment were involved in a key battles in Antwerp, Belgium, before also being involved in Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge.

Julie Gregson, head of heritage services at Hertfordshire County Council, said: "This account is just one of many stories from soldiers across the UK who bravely fought on D-Day.

"George was one of the lucky ones who didn’t lose his life and he was therefore able to share his personal experience.

"Accounts like these are so important to help us understand the past and preserve Hertfordshire’s history for future generations."