D-Day 70: Bell from Normandy invasion vessel rung as tribute in Devizes

Robin Mitchell and his neighbour Ian Richards with the bell at Wyatt Court, Devizes, today

Robin Mitchell and his neighbour Ian Richards with the bell at Wyatt Court, Devizes, today

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by , Devizes area senior reporter

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.”

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