DDay70: So It Begins

Discussion in 'All Anniversaries' started by Paul Reed, Jun 4, 2014.

  1. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    On the ferry heading to Calais, and then to Bayeux with my group from the York Normandy veterans.

    Met some people at Dover from a group who were "hoping" to pick up their passes from somewhere in France. So glad we were well prepared for it all.

    You can keep an eye on our travels via:

    ritsonvaljos, canuck, Gerard and 2 others like this.
  2. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Thanks Paul.

    Looking Forward to the photos.

  3. jagdpanther44

    jagdpanther44 Senior Member

    I have been here in Normandy since Sunday and have only today obtained my travel pass from the local town hall.

    However I wasn't successful in getting a pass for the ceremony at Sword Beach so now plan on going to Pegasus Bridge on the 6th and then on to Arromanches where there will be a gathering of tanks, including a Panther....I can feel the envy that Adam is emitting!
  4. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Best of luck with the trip, Paul. I suppose that this may be the last of the big Anniversaries now, by the time they get to the 80th there may well be no veterans left.
  5. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    you have that about right as the youngest at the time will be close to 100 in another ten years…

    Gerard likes this.
  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD


    D-day landings scenes in 1944 and now – interactive

    Slipdigit likes this.
  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    canuck likes this.
  8. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Paul has posted some lovely pictures of the Veterans at Normandy on his Twitter feed (above)
  9. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    These fellows are in good hands.
  10. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Link includes short video clips

    Remembering D-Day: NI veterans who played key role

    RAF pilot Bill Eames was born in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh

    When I visited the Normandy beaches as a tourist last year, little did I know that I would have the opportunity to meet two of the men who survived the dangers of the D-Day landings in 1944.

    Like many visitors to that part of the world, I walked alongside the Orne Canal which is a peaceful stretch of water not far from the coast.

    For RAF pilot Bill Eames, who was born in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, that very waterway was a crucial guide for him in the darkness on 6 June that year.

    He was flying in low cloud but, luckily, a blink of moonlight lit up the water and it became his pathway to his target destination.

    It was his mission, along with 570 Squadron, to tow heavy gliders full of paratroops who would land onto French soil.

    Although Bill, who now lives in Lisburn, County Antrim, encountered a lot of German anti-aircraft fire, he returned to base unscathed.

    It was during the later battle of Arnhem that he was badly injured.

    I cannot even imagine the sort of risks Bill faced and took as a young man.

    As we talked about his time during the war, I was struck by his modesty and humility.

    When I ask to see his medals, he only tells me in passing that he received a mention in dispatches which is an official recognition of his gallantry.

    A small bronze leaf on a service medal marks that honour and is a treasured possession.

    The former flight lieutenant who is now 91-years-old is one of just a few local veterans still alive who can recount what happened in the D-Day landings, an important turning point in the war.

    John Leishman has very vivid memories of the conflict

    At 94, John Leishman's memory of that conflict is clear. He was with 153 Infantry Brigade of the 51st Highland Division who were the support for the front line troops.

    John, who lives in Dundonald near east Belfast, had already escaped in a small fishing boat from Dunkirk in 1940 and had survived many other battles before Normandy.

    The infantryman landed on Sword Beach. When I visited last year, I saw a long stretch of golden sand with a promenade alongside - a perfect holiday destination far removed from what it was on D-Day.

    John told me that he was lucky to get there on 6 June

    He could not swim and two of his comrades had to hold him up out of the water as they left the landing craft.

    As he talks about the frightening experience on that day and those that follows, he breaks off and takes delight in telling me that he is returning to Normandy to take part in the 70th anniversary commemorations.

    He wants to go again for the 75th anniversary.

    Donna Traynor's interview with Bill Eames will be broadcast on BBC Newsline on BBC One NI on Thursday at 18:30 BST and the interview with John Leishman will be shown on Friday evening.

    4jonboy likes this.
  11. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    In Pictures: Remembering D-Day

    Veterans of World War II, world leaders and royalty have been gathering ahead of the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the biggest amphibious assault in military history.

    Many UK veterans will sail on HMS Bulwark from Portsmouth to Normandy on Thursday, while a parade made up of former troops, cadets and serving members of the armed forces is taking place in Portsmouth.

    The Prince of Wales is attending a memorial service to mark the taking of the strategic Pegasus Bridge in France, and the Queen will make a state visit to France, starting in Paris.

    Hundreds of veterans - including Frank James, 95 - have gathered to mark 70 years since the D-Day landings in northern France

    A Spitfire and a Lancaster, both famous aircraft from WWII, flew over Pegasus Bridge near Caen, France

    A Hercules C-130 plane flew over Sword Beach in Ouistreham, northern France, where world leaders will gather on Friday

    US veterans - including Isaac Curtis Phillips - also attended the US-German D-Day commemoration ceremony

    Some of the 650 British veterans expected at Sword Beach for a ceremony on Friday attended by a number of world leaders visited the beach on Thursday

    Veterans including George French, 89, of the King's Royal Rifles, have been returning to the beaches where an estimated 2,500 Allied troops died on D-Day
    stolpi and 4jonboy like this.
  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    John Snagge announces D-Day has come

    BBC report on D-Day from a Normandy beach head


    D-Day: In the words of the BBC journalists

    Eisenhower's D-Day speech

    D-Day: Ex-BBC man Trevor Hill recalls Eisenhower speech
  13. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD




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  14. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Remembering DDay whilst do the wiping up.
    Gerard likes this.
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive


    You and Ken are famous in Yorkshire - We have just seen you both on Calendar News tonight :)
  16. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    An amazing trip. The group was filmed by BBC Look North and ITV plus Dan Snow interviewed the two Kens for BBC1.

    Will post a link to some photos when I'm back.
  17. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Did you (or some of the Veteran fellows) take part in the march past at Arromanches on 6 June, Paul?
  18. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    The vets did, yes. I photographed them from the sidelines.
    ritsonvaljos likes this.
  19. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    In spite of all the misgivings about the bureaucracy from what I read and saw of the events on T.V. or heard on the radio, I got the impression everything worked out even better than expected.
  20. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    There were a few issues but Bayeux and Arromanches were the best organised I have been to with the welfare of the vets being top priority at Bayeux which was a credit to the British Armed Forces present & RBL.

    There was very much a 'buzz' everywhere which was nice and the vets were treated like the VIPs they are.

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