D-Day 70: Bell from Normandy invasion vessel rung as tribute in Devizes (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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D-Day 70: Bell from Normandy invasion vessel rung as tribute in Devizes
Two ex-military men held a commemorative event to mark D-Day using a bell that was on one of of the American boats that invaded Normandy.
Robin Mitchell and his neighbour Ian Richards marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day today by ringing the bell that was from the boat.
Mr Mitchell, 74, who bought the bell from a dealer in France two years ago, read out the history of the boat, number 403, and Mr Richards, a retired submarine commander, rang the bell.
They also had the American flag and the British Ensign flag of the Royal Navy flying from a tree during the ceremony, at which about ten people gathered, near their homes in Wyatt Court, Devizes.
Mr Mitchell, who served for 22 years in the Royal Air Force, said: “The bell is a significant piece of history. It was not a standard fit and it was probably commissioned by the captain of the boat.
"The boat was built in America and set sail from Plymouth harbour as a landing craft at Omaha beach. It was part of the support operations and after the initial landing it repatriated injured troops and it took off 35 wounded soldiers.
“D-Day was an extraordinary feat of arms. It really was a risky plan and it could have gone wrong so easily.
"Ian and I wanted to say thank you for the efforts the troops made on D-Day.”