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D-Day 70: Memorial service and parade pictures

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Our picture slideshow shows scenes from the D-Day anniversary memorial service and parade at Southsea.

Veterans of D-Day united once more to pay tribute to their fallen comrades.

Hundreds of people gathered at the D-Day memorial stone in South Parade, Southsea, for the remembrance service yesterday.

Veterans, their families, religious figures, city dignitaries and members of the public joined in giving tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and died in battle in 1944 for what was the turning point of the Second World War.

Crowds got to their feet and erupted in applause as veterans from the British Legion marched to the memorial stone.

And D-Day veterans showed their courage, determination and pride, as they also rose to pay tribute and remember lost friends.

Veteran Matthew Guymer MBE, 90, from Stafford, was in D squadron of the 11th Hussars Prince Albert’s Own.

He said: ‘I feel very honoured. People have come from all over the world to be here in Portsmouth.

‘We are privileged to be here. I came here in the war.

‘It means a lot to me that people in this country are very aware of what we went through.

‘We fought so hard for this country, for our Commonwealth and for the people of our nation. We are very proud that we returned to be successful.’

Frank Sims, 95, who was part of the 51st Highland Division, said he was impressed to see so many people attending the ceremony.

He said: ‘There has been such a big turnout and so many people have come over and spoken to me.

‘I think younger people now are taking more interest in what happened, compared to previous generations.

‘That means a lot to me and it was great to see so many people here.’

Prayers were led by the Rev Canon Bob White of St Mary’s Church in Fratton.

A hymn, prayers and readings were conducted during the moving service.

Many in the crowd rose to pay tribute and some had tears in their eyes as they reflected upon what took place 70 years ago. Afterwards a number of wreaths were laid against the D-Day stone.

Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Dame Mary Fagan, laid down the first one, followed by others including Portsmouth’s deputy Lord Mayor Councillor David Horne and the Royal British Legion.

Jennifer Holland, 64, of Rudmore Court, a retired clerk, attended to remember her father Albert Hidler, who died aged 83.

She said: ‘My dad was involved in the D-Day landings.

‘He had volunteered to go into the services and signed up for the Royal Navy.’

She added: ‘I remember he used to tell us he felt seasick all the time.

‘The service was beautiful. It was a fitting tribute to all, especially for the veterans.

‘Without D-Day we wouldn’t be here.’

After the service the veterans paraded down to Southsea Common.

They were headed by the Rose and Thistle Pipe Band, as they went along the seafront, past the D-Day Museum and the statue of Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery.

Historic vehicles and members of the modern armed forces helped Second World War veterans get from the D-Day stone to the common.

Families sat on the common and watched the Normandy commemorations.

Lydia Garcia, 64, travelled from East Sussex in memory of her father Charles Leslie Scargill, who fought in the war but died at the age of 80.

She said: ‘My dad was one of the first ones to go on to Sword Beach.

‘He had four friends and all of them died.

‘It affected him his whole life and when he died, the consultant said shrapnel was still in him.

‘This was very emotional.

‘I came down with my brother. We feel as if we are representing him.’

Robert Johnson, 83, travelled to Portsmouth from Lisburn in Northern Ireland with his wife Elizabeth.

He said: ‘It’s been very good. We have friends in the services, so we thought we would come and pay our respects. I’m old enough to remember the outbreak of war.’

Cllr Horne said: ‘The service went extremely well.

‘There were quite a lot of veterans down there.

‘Portsmouth played a significant part in the flotilla of ships that sailed from here and then came back here.

‘It’s a tremendous honour for Portsmouth and it’s always remembered every single year.

‘The city council, the navy and the Royal British Legion put on an event to remember those guys.

‘You will never break their spirit. They are as proud as ever.

‘The weather made it, the crowd made it. It was just superb.’

 

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