A GRANDSON is to pay tribute to his grandparents’ Second World War legacy by taking on a gruelling cycle challenge to mark the anniversary of D-Day.

Rhydian Mason, who lives in Machynlleth, but originally from the Aberystwyth area, wanted to do something to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day and the battle of Normandy.

He explained: “My own grandfather, Elwyn Mason, was one of the thousands of young men - conscripts - who played their part in the liberation of Normandy, and ultimately, Europe. He landed on Juno beach on the morning of the 6 June 1944, driving an amphibious jeep.

“I have always been fascinated and enthralled by this - the fact that a young 21 year old farmers' son from Cardiganshire was sent away to war in 1939.

“The fact that the adventure turned into a nightmare as his company was decimated down to a dozen men with ammunition, petrol, and rations running out, as the enemy pursued them to the beaches at Dunkirk.

“This experience changed him forever. I'm told that the happy-go-lucky lad who left returned as a quiet, reserved man.

“Four years later, he was back in France on D-Day. Older, wiser, and with full knowledge of the realities of what war was.

Elwyn Mason some months' after D-Day in Belgium with a local liberated family. (Supplied)

“Whilst he returned physically fit, there were psychological scars. Today, we know them as PTSD. Like most ex-servicemen, he was expected to just 'cope' with it.”

To mark the 80th anniversary and what is probably one of the last major anniversaries of the event, with veterans, Rhydian, will embark on a five-day cycle challenge in Normandy to raise money for Help For Heroes.

He added: "I'm proud to be the grandson of grandparents who served during the second World War.

“My maternal grandfather on the home front was a farmer, and my paternal grandfather served in uniform.

“I think we are a long way off repaying the debt we owe that generation, and whilst we can't repay those that have now passed away, I think that by undertaking this cycling challenge to raise funds for Help for Heroes, that I'm doing something that will help repay just a little of that debt, but to the next generations of people who are serving.

"Hopefully I can reach my fundraising target of £1500, and if any Cambrian News readers would like to donate then I'd be very grateful.”

The route of the challenge (Help for Heroes)

The challenge starts at St Mere Eglise and takes in all five D-Day landing beaches at Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, and onwards to Paris – covering around 70 miles a day.

To support Rhydian, visit his Justgiving page.