THIS WEEK marks the 80th anniversary of D Day when among the thousands of allied troops who embarked onto the European mainland was a future Barnsley FC manager.

Tim Ward, then 26, was serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps in the Second World War and was a nursing orderly attached to the 15th Scottish Division.

After the Normandy Landings on June 6, 1944, he travelled with the army across Europe and was eventually one of those who liberated the Belson concentration camp.

His son Andrew, who wrote several books including one about Tim’s life, quoted him saying: “During the campaign it was only natural that we should resent the fact that we had to give up so much at such an important time in our lives.

“Wherever we were, when a writing home session was in progress, someone would say: ‘Dear mother, is it worth it?’ A few days before the Germans capitulated we went into Belsen.

“That was the most horrific sight possible; for ages afterwards, I had nightmares and never again did we ask the question, ‘was it worth it?’. We knew, without a doubt.”

Ward had played regularly in wartime games across the continent when possible during the conflict, which had interrupted a high-level football career.

He had started as a winger with hometown club Cheltenham Town then spent 14 years with Derby County – spanning the Second World War.

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He made two appearances for England in 1947 and 1948.

Ward joined Barnsley as a player in 1951 – as a replacement for Danny Blanchflower – then, two years later, took over as manager.

He had initially been appointed as manager of Exeter City and travelled with them to a match but he had not been released by the Oakwell club and, following the death of long-serving Barnsley manager Angus Seed, was offered the Reds job and left the Grecians after eight days.

He was the youngest manager in the country at 34 and would spend seven years in charge of the Reds.

They were relegated from the second tier in his first season but he took them back there two years later only to suffer another relegation in 1959 and leave the club the following year.

His successor as Barnsley manager, Johnny Steele, had also served in the Second World War – spending three years in Burma.

Ward, who went on to manage Grimsby Town, Derby and Carlisle United, died in 1993.