D Day veterans honoured at ceremony
D-DAY veterans have shared their memories at a reception to mark the 60th anniversary of the Normandy landings.Tendring District Council leader Terry Allenasked for veterans of the landings to contact the council so the reception could be arranged.
By Annie Davidson
D-DAY veterans have shared their memories at a reception to mark the 60th anniversary of the Normandy landings.
Tendring District Council leader Terry Allenasked for veterans of the landings to contact the council so the reception could be arranged.
More than 20 got in touch and attended the event this weekat Clacton town hall – and each of the former servicemen was presented with a pair of Tendring council cufflinks to mark the day.
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Mr Allen said: "It has been tremendous listening to all their stories.
"It is very humbling. They are all really pleasant people who if you saw them walking down the street you would never know what they have done and been through.
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"There was one guy from the Royal Marines and one of the first commandos to go in. It was unbelievable.
"They range in age from 91 to 79, so he would have been a young lad when he went to war. He was captured and spent nine months in a prisoner of war camp.
"We must always remember what these people did for us."
Meanhwile, a Severnclass lifeboat will travel to northern France to take part in the 60th anniversary D-Day.
The RNLI is sending the vessel, Beth Sell as a mark of respect for all those involved in the battle on 6 June, 1944.
Volunteers from Harwich lifeboat station will crew the vessel which leaves RNLI headquarters in Poole, Dorset, tomorrow , and cross the channel to join other boats bound for Ouistreham, where veterans will gather to remember fallen comrades.
The following day, Sunday, the lifeboat will go on active search and rescue duty to protect those taking part.
RNLI staff operations officer, Captain Hugh Fogarty, said: "Volunteer lifeboat crews saved over 6,000 lives during the Second World War, and, while we were not directly involved in D-Day itself, troop movements around our coastline during the build up to the battle meant many daring rescues were carried out.
"This lifeboat comes from our relief fleet, and will be crewed by volunteers from Harwich station on the east coast, who were very keen to get involved. One of our highly trained Coxswains will lead the mission, which will include escort duty for a ferry carrying D-Day veterans into Ouistreham - sure to be a proud moment for all of us."
At 17m in length, the £1.9M Severn class all weather lifeboat is currently the largest in the fleet. Introduced in 1996, this class of lifeboat carries a crew of six, has a top speed of 25 knots and a range of 250 nautical miles.