A SECOND World War veteran from Bicester, is desperately trying to track down the family of his best friend who died on the beaches of Normandy.

As a 19-year-old private on D-Day, Bill Adams served with the 1st Buckinghamshire Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

He has been awarded a medal for his bravery – the Legion d’Honneur medal, the highest decoration in France.

Mr Adams lost several friends and among them was best mate Ian Holland from Berkshire, or “Dutchy” as better known by Mr Adams.

He said: “It was very rough when we went out. I landed with a mate called Ian Holland who was from Berkshire, he was killed the next morning.

“I remember we were unloading petrol cans and the Germans started shelling. I was up one end and he was up the other which is when he got killed.

“It is 70-odd years since my mate got killed and I have never had any luck in trying to contact his family.”

Mr Adams, 91, landed on Sword Beach, Normandy on June 6, 1944 – having trained in Ayr in Scotland.

The father-of-one described how the Battalion had to wade to shore from the boat with all their equipment, which as a machine gunner proved difficult.

As they reached the beach he recalls a German aircraft flying very low overhead with his cockpit open, Mr Adams said he was so close you could see the insignia on his collar.

The veteran said: “ I used to go across to France quite a bit and know his grave at Hermanville Cemetery, I wanted to contact any of his family that are still alive – before I pop my clogs.

“I just want to see if they go or to let them know where he is.”

Through research the veteran believes that Mr Holland may have had a brother named Herbert but has little more information.

The Oxford Mail has found records of an Ian Stuart Holland of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry who died on June 7, 1944, age 20.

It says Private Holland was from Cheshire but lived in Berkshire and was born in 1924 to squadron leader Robert John Hayne Holland of the RAF and Evelyn Holland.

Mr Adams, who is a member of the Woodstock branch of the Royal British Legion, was born in Tackley in 1924.

He is now in Brook Road following the death of his second wife Cynthia Adams in 2014.

* If you have any more information that could help Mr Adams trace the family of Mr Holland get in touch with Naomi on 01865 425 427 or naomi.herring@oxfordmail.co.uk