AN AMERICAN D-Day hero who was stationed in Bridport prior to the landings has died aged 100.

Staff Sergeant Ray Lambert was one of the last surviving soldiers of the D-Day landings at Omaha Beach, Normandy, during the Second World War.

He died at his home in North Carolina on April 9.

Serving as a medic in the medical detachment to the 2nd Battalion of the 16th Regiment and the 1st Division, he was in Bridport from November 1943 until June 1944.

The medical detachment was based in the Literary and Scientific Institute in East Street as well as some houses in Barrack Street.

Originally from Alabama, SSG Lambert speaks about his time in Bridport in his book, ‘Every Man a Hero’ published in 2019 for the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Landings.

He talked about how the work was light compared to what they had gone through previously, seeing action in North Africa and Sicily.

In Bridport, they went out on marches and some of the soldiers did a course to become dental assistants. Many dated English girls – with around 80 marriages taking place in the 1st Division in Dorset.

He recalled leaving Bridport on May 17, 1944 and being quarantined somewhere between Bridport and Weymouth. No one was permitted to leave, and no one who was not part of the unit could not enter without special permission.

SSG Lambert was on one of the first landing crafts in the first wave of the assault at Omaha.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Ray's Rock on Omaha Beach Picture: Jane Ferentzi-Sheppard Ray's Rock on Omaha Beach Picture: Jane Ferentzi-Sheppard

As bullets flew around him, he searched the beach for something to shelter behind so he could safely treat the wounded. He spotted a lump of concrete, which he used as cover. A plaque installed in 2018 now recognises it as ‘Ray’s Rock’.

He continually ran into the sea to drag out fellow soldiers, and was shot in the arm and nearly drowned when a landing craft ramp dropped on him, pushing him to the bottom of the sea.

He was one of just seven survivors from his landing craft. He was shipped back to Weymouth to the 50th Field Hospital, and later transferred to a hospital in Cheltenham where he stayed until January 1945, when he sailed to New York. He was eventually discharged from the army in June 1945.

At the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2019, SSG Lambert was singled out by then US President Donald Trump.

In front of a hushed crowd at the American Cemetery overlooking the beach, President Trump told SSG Lambert “Ray, the free world salutes you”.

SSG Lambert requested that his ashes be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, and that some be scattered on Omaha Beach.

He was believed to be the last surviving member of the ‘Big Red One’ 1st Division, to have fought in all three ‘theatres of war’ - North Africa, Sicily and Normandy.

This information was provided to The News by local historian Jane Ferentzi-Sheppard.