D-Day 70: Portsmouth salutes American veterans

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THEY came together to sing the American national anthem just like they did 70 years ago.

Portsmouth’s International Ferry Port today hosted 30 American D-Day veterans as once more they prepared to embark for Normandy.

American veterans in Portsmouth today

American veterans in Portsmouth today

The war heroes were escorted by the Associate General Contractors of Texas, which is made up of former military service people.

Upon arrival a wreath was laid in front of the Thomas Reeves plaque inside the ferry port.

After that the American national anthem was sung.

Vern Ollar, 91, from Texas, who served in the army, said: ‘Listening to the anthem really choked me up and brought a tear to my eye.

‘These commemorations are fantastic.’

A guard of honour formed to salute the veterans as they left for France this morning.

The Americans were among the first veterans heading for France from Portsmouth this week.

Four cross-Channel ferries are leaving the city this week, carrying a total of 400 British and American D-Day veterans, who will be given special treatment as they pass the naval base.

Tugs leading the ferries out will spray water cannon, Royal Navy ships alongside will be dressed with flags and the officer of the day on each warship will salute the veterans as they sail past.

Naval base staff also plan to line South Railway Jetty as the ferries move past.