When Leon Gautier landed on Sword Beach in a hail of enemy fire on June 6, 1944 the last thing he expected was that 70 years later one of the 'Boches' he was fighting against would be a friend and neighbour.

Yet today, Mr Gautier, now 91, and Johannes Boerner, 88, live side-by-side in the very town where the French commando came ashore in the first wave of the D-Day invasion. They are two of the dwindling number of veterans of the Allies' Normandy landings and the ensuing three-month battle to push German forces back on the western front of Nazi-occupied Europe.

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