Veterans gather in Normandy to mark 74 years since D-Day

Never Forget: Poignant message written in the sand at Omaha Beach as D-Day veterans and families of fallen soldiers gather in Normandy to mark 74 years since the invasion that changed the course of WWII

  • Families of fallen soldiers and dwindling numbers of veterans of the D-Day invasion gathered in Normandy
  • Remembrance took place above Omaha Beach where the message’never forget’ had been written in the sand
  • Thousands of Allied troops launched joint naval, air and land assault as dawn was breaking on June 6, 1944
  • Invasion weakened Nazi hold on Western Europe after they suffered punishing defeat in Stalingrad in the east

Families of fallen soldiers and dwindling numbers of veterans of the D-Day invasion have gathered in Normandy shore to mark 74 years since the massive military operation that helped change the course of World War II.

There was heavy mist as relatives and others paid respects at the US military cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, above Omaha Beach where the message ‘never forget’ had been written in the sand.

Ceremonies have been held this week at memorial sites along the cliffs and sandy expanse where Allied forces landed in Nazi-occupied France. 

Thousands of U.S., British, Canadian and French troops launched a combined naval, air and land assault as dawn was breaking on June 6, 1944.  The invasion weakened the Nazis’ hold on Western Europe after they suffered a punishing defeat in Stalingrad in the east.

The poignant message ‘never forget’ was written in the sand on Omaha beach in Normandy as D Day veterans gathered to remember the invasion

Families of fallen soldiers and dwindling numbers of veterans of the D-Day invasion have gathered in Normandy shore to mark 74 years since the massive military operation that helped change the course of World War II. A veteran is pictured at Bayeux Cemetery today

Powerful gusts of wind blew through a heavy mist as relatives and others paid respects at the American military cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, above the sandy expanse known as Omaha Beach

Ceremonies have been held this week at memorial sites along the cliffs and sandy expanse where Allied forces landed in Nazi-occupied France. Veterans are pictured at Bayeux Cemetery today

Second World War enthusiasts from France wearing 101st Airborne uniforms attend a ceremony near Omaha beach today next to the Colleville American military cemetery, in Colleville sur Mer, France

American tourists and Dutch military history enthusiasts were among those visiting the memorial sites on Wednesday, mingling with families of victims of the Battle of Normandy buried in cemeteries sprinkled around the region.

This year’s commemorations were relatively low-key, while bigger events are planned for the 75th anniversary next year.  

RELATED ARTICLES

  • Previous
  • 1
  • Next

  • War veteran who was among youngest to serve in Iraq turns…


    German investigation targets 95-year-old suspected former…


    Arrival of Britain’s new £100m ‘game changer’ F-35 Lightning…

Share this article

It comes as it emerged D-Day veterans are being asked to register their intention to attend 2019’s commemorations.

The Royal British Legion and the UK Government are encouraging veterans to get in touch early so they can mark the poignant occasion ‘according to their wishes’.

Members of the public are also being asked to spread the message and help any D-Day veterans in accessing a purpose-built website or contacting the Legion. 

Thousands of US, British, Canadian and French troops launched a combined naval, air and land assault as dawn was breaking on June 6, 1944

Armed French police were on patrol today as Normandy veterans attended a service of remembrance at Bayeux Cemetery

Normandy veterans and other guests attend a official service of remembrance at Bayeux Cathedral during the D-Day 74th anniversary commemorations

Vera Hay, 96, who was a nursing sister in the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service and landed on Gold Beach shortly after D-Day, leaves a service of remembrance at Bayeux Cathedral today

This year’s commemorations were relatively low-key, while bigger events are planned for the 75th anniversary next year

The Legion and the Government, along with organisations including the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the Normandy Memorial Trust and the Spirit of Normandy Trust are planning commemorations to mark D-Day 75, both in France and across the UK.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: ‘The Normandy Landings were the vital springboard to the liberation of Europe and the end of the Second World War.

‘The breath-taking bravery and ingenuity shown during those days still echo through today’s armed forces.

‘At D-Day 75 the eyes of the world will be on these men once more. To enable us to do them justice it’s important we find as many veterans as possible and let them know how to participate.

‘We will never forget the debt we owe for the peace and freedom we now enjoy on this continent.’

American tourists and Dutch military history enthusiasts were among those visiting the memorial sites on Wednesday, mingling with families of victims of the Battle of Normandy buried in cemeteries sprinkled around the region

D-Day veterans are being asked to register their intention to attend 2019’s commemorations. The Royal British Legion and the UK Government are encouraging veterans to get in touch early so they can mark the poignant occasion ‘according to their wishes’

Musical tribute: A military band arrives as Normandy veterans attend a official service of remembrance at Bayeux Cemetery

Thousands of tourists flock to the area every year to see the spot where brave allied soldiers changed the course of the Second World War

Helped by servicemen and women, D Day veterans took it in turns to pay their respects to fallen soldiers at Bayeux Cemetery

US and French flags and a flower are placed on the grave ofJames D. Black, from New York, who died on June 11, 1944

School children visit the Colleville American military cemetery, in Colleville sur Mer, western France

Memorial services are set to take place in Normandy, the South Coast, the National Memorial Arboretum, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland next year

A veteran passes the graves of the fallen as Normandy veterans attend a official service of remembrance at Bayeux Cemetery

Today is the 74th anniversary of D-Day and some of the handful of surviving Normandy Veterans have made their way to France to commemorate the landings, which saw 156,000 troops from the allied countries including the United Kingdom, the United States and France join forces to launch an audacious attack on the beaches of Normandy

A military band arrives as Normandy veterans attend a official service of remembrance at Bayeux Cemetery during the D-Day 74th anniversary commemorations today

The Normandy landings were the landing operations on Tuesday, June 6, 1944 of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. Codenamed Operation Neptune and often referred to as D-Day, it was the largest seaborne invasion in history

Normandy veterans including Bill Pendall, 96, (centre right) and Joe Cattini, 95, (centre left) who both landed on Gold Beach on D-Day were among those who attended the ceremony at Bayeux Cemetery 

Vera Hay, 96, (left) who was a nursing sister in the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service and landed on Gold Beach shortly after D-Day Bill Pendall, 96, (right) and Joe Cattini, 95, (centre) who both landed on Gold Beach on D-Day prepare to lay a wreath today

Normandy veteran George Parsons watches on as he attends the ceremony in Normandy today

Vera Hay, 96, a nursing sister in the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service and landed on Gold Beach shortly after D-Day, takes the arm of a serviceman as she leaves a service at Bayeux Cathedral

Memorial services are set to take place in Normandy, the South Coast, the National Memorial Arboretum, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Veterans and their families that register on the D-Day 75 website will be kept updated as plans are confirmed and more details are released.

Charles Byrne, director general of the Royal British Legion, said: ‘D-Day 75 is only a year away and significant plans are already afoot.

‘We want to ensure that every veteran can mark this incredibly important occasion exactly where and how they want.

‘To ensure the utmost care and attention can be given to the ex-servicemen, now in their nineties, the Legion and its partners need the public’s help to make sure as many come forward as soon as possible.

‘If you are a friend or family member of a D-Day veteran, please help them to get in touch with us.’ 

Source: Read Full Article