He was the bank clerk who went to war and became an unassuming hero.
And now, more than 70 years later, Eric Johnston has released an account of his exploits during World War II – at the age of 94.
The former tank driver decided to write the book, Reflections of a Tank Trooper (Retd), for those who did not come back – with all the royalties going to military charities and his regiment.
Mr Johnston, from Aberdeen, decided to volunteer for The Royal Armoured Corps while on his lunch break from the bank.
After training at such places as Fort George, he joined the tank crews of the 4/7 Royal Dragoon Guards and spent five years on active service as a trooper, performing with courage throughout the D-Day landing in 1944.
As he has recounted in the pages of the book, it was a time of extreme danger, battle fatigue, terrible shelling and mortar attacks, but he was never daunted by any challenges during the conflict.
Mr Johnston said: “Back in 2014, I met up with a member of my regiment and he told me if I had any memories, I should write them down before it was too late. So I got on with it.
“The book was a labour of love for all those who didn’t come back. I know I was one of the lucky ones, because we lost so many pals, so many colleagues, whereas I was able to come home and get on with the rest of my life.
“Right from the start, I was determined I wouldn’t make any money from the book. The royalties are going to military charities and my regiment. There aren’t many of us left now, but my memories are still crystal clear.”
Mr Johnston, who was married to his late wife Joan for more than 50 years, was recently given the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur, a medal awarded by the Government of France, to recognise the selfless acts of heroism and determination displayed by all surviving veterans of the Normandy landings, and of the wider campaigns to liberate France in 1944.
He added: “I never expected that to happen, but all these things came from the regiment. I was very young, very callow during the war itself, but that was probably for the best.
“I was only 20 on D-Day, with no dependants, no responsibilities. Of course, I cared about my family, but I know of so many who died with sweethearts back home who never got to say goodbye.
“When war broke out, my mum was in tears – I had never seen her cry before. But, for me, the war was exciting, it was adventure. Yes, I was scared at times, but it was exhilarating.”
He was also one of 12 D-Day veterans to have his portrait painted by the renowned artist, Catherine Goodman LVO, and the picture was unveiled at Buckingham Palace.
Mr Johnston returned to the banking sphere after the war and eventually became an area general manager with Trustee Savings Bank (Scotland).
He is a Burgess of the City of Aberdeen, as well as being an honorary president of the Cairngorm Group with a love for the mountains in the north of his homeland.