D-Day 70: Veterans cross Channel to pay respects to fallen

D-Day veterans Jack Woods, left, of Devizes, Ken Scott, of Royal Wootton Bassett, Major Alan Graham, of Pewsey, and Clifford Jones, of Chippenham

D-Day veterans Jack Woods, left, of Devizes, Ken Scott, of Royal Wootton Bassett, Major Alan Graham, of Pewsey, and Clifford Jones, of Chippenham

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Ten veterans will pay their respects to fallen comrades during a three-day trip to Normandy this week organised by the Wiltshire Normandy Veterans Association.

They left for France yesterday and will join organised ceremonies at some of the key sites of the invasion that run until Saturday.

Among the veterans on the trip are Ken Scott, 98, from Royal Wootton Bassett, Bob Conway, 88, from Trowbridge, and Doug Lakey, from Warminster.

Bert Williams, 92, from Calne, who was a sergeant for the Royal Army Service Corps, will also be on the trip with his wife Cynthia.

The itinerary starts with a visit to Coleville-Montgomery to see the statue of Sir Bernard Montgomery, the senior British military commander on D-Day.

On Friday there is a visit to Bayeux Cathedral for a military ceremony, followed by a ceremony involving 40 heads of state at Gold Beach.

Gold was one of five code-named beaches picked for the launch of the Normandy invasion and there will be increased security while the ceremony takes place.

The group also plans to visit Arromanches in the evening, where the Allies built an artificial temporary harbour to allow the unloading of heavy equipment.

On Saturday the group will visit the artillery memorial at Ver-sur-Mer and lunch with the director of the museum there.

They will head on to Hill 112, a strategic point from which the valleys of the Odon and Orne can be seen, and where the Allies lost thousands of men.

Branch secretary Richard Palusinski said: “We must never get away from the fact that what we’re remembering is a huge number of ordinary men doing extraordinary things.”

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