Abingdon Royal British Legion Honours D-Day Hero with Bar Renaming

The Abingdon Royal British Legion held a ceremony to rename its bar after Lieutenant Raymond Charles Belcher, a local hero and one of the casualties of the D-Day landings.

Belcher, a 20-year-old airman from Abingdon, was the officer in charge of a harbour landing party. His plane was hit by flak after reaching the Normandy coast in the early hours of June 6, killing all on board.

The Legion’s initiative coincides with a series of events organized by the Spring Road social club to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day. The club will also host an afternoon cream tea for veterans on June 8.

Lieutenant Belcher, known affectionately as “Bunny” to his parents who lived in Vineyard, Abingdon, had been married for only six months to his wife Kay, an ATS corporal who was expecting a baby.

Local military historian and author Stephen King played a key role in uncovering Belcher’s story.

King collaborated with Clare Oldfield, Abingdon’s Poppy Appeal Organiser. ‘Bunny was a young man with his hopes and aspirations ahead of him’, said King, ‘but sadly that was not to be, indeed he may have been one of the very first D-Day casualties.’

The “Ray ‘Bunny’ Belcher” bar was unveiled during a visit from members of the D-Day Normandy Federation. To further honour Lieutenant Belcher’s memory, Loose Cannon Brewery renamed one of their beers ‘Abingdon Pathfinder,’ and patrons raised a toast to the fallen hero.

‘We are proud to be naming the bar after Bunny,’ said Mrs. Oldfield. ‘The sacrifices made, from the first to the last casualty, deserve to be honoured and remembered.’

Thanks to Brighton College for the picture of Lieutenant Belcher.

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