An 89-year-old D-Day veteran received the surprise of his life when he was invited to meet the Queen.
Terry Dibley, from Horn Lane, Enfield, only knew he was nominated to attend the Not Forgotten Association’s annual garden party at Buckingham Palace.
As he filled out the details of his war service, he had no idea he would be chosen to meet the Queen.
The great-grandfather of seven said: “I had a form to complete to give my details. It just sort of detailed my war service and I just mentioned that I was over on D-Day.
“To my surprise, when I received the formal information, I learned I would be among a select few presented to Her Majesty.”
Mr Dibley was a 19-year-old Royal Marine when he landed on the coast of Normandy one hour after the initial assault began. He said he joined the service because “that’s what people did at the time”.
He said: “It was wartime. You just sort of went. I particularly wanted to join the Royal Marines. It was the glamour of it for an 18-year-old lad I think.”
When he attended the garden party last Thursday, Mr Dibley was ecstatic to see the guard around the palace mounted by Royal Marines.
He said: “That really made my day. I was told that last happened in 1986.”
But the highlight of the evening was his presentation to the Queen. With his grandson behind him, Mr Dibley had an unhurried conversation with the monarch.
He said: “She was very delightful to everybody. We had a few words and she asked me whether I had been back to Normandy. I told her I had been back for the 60 and 65th anniversaries, but I couldn’t get back this time. She replied that it must be more and more difficult as the veterans are getting on in age.”
The Queen was also accompanied by HRH The Duke of York, Marshall of the Royal Air Force The Lord Craig, NFA Chairman Brigadier Richard Heywood and Chief Executive Colonel Piers Storie-Pugh. Nearly 1,900 war pensioners, beneficiaries and supporters were in attendance.
Mr Dibley said: “I never imagined I would meet the Queen. It was an amazing experience and such a memorable occasion.”