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D-Day 70: Stone from bridge destroyed in war is brought to Gosport for ceremony

John and Sarah Mathison who run a Gosport engineering company have brought over a large stone from France for Gosport's D Day commemorations. The plaque for the monument was made in their Gosport workshops.
Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141647-2)

John and Sarah Mathison who run a Gosport engineering company have brought over a large stone from France for Gosport's D Day commemorations. The plaque for the monument was made in their Gosport workshops. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141647-2)

HUSBAND and wife John and Sarah Mathison were determined Gosport should mark D-Day in a fitting way.

The pair, of Kings Road, Lee-on-the-Solent, both have fathers who fought in the D-Day landings.

They mark their fathers’ service each year but for the 70th anniversary have gone one step further.

John, 68, brought back a stone from the Caen bridge in France that was destroyed by the Germans as they beat a retreat.

It will now be the centrepiece of the D-Day ceremony at Hardway on Sunday.

John said: ‘I brought the stone from Normandy and it came from a bridge that was destroyed by the Germans from their withdrawal from Caen.

‘It’s important because my father fought in Normandy and my wife’s father also fought.’

John’s father was a Squadron Quarter Master Sergeant in the 11th Hussars.

He sailed from Plymouth and landed in Normandy on D-Day+2.

John added: ‘He fought all the way up through France, Belgium, Normandy and Germany.

Sarah’s father Chief Petty Officer Thomas Rush was 23 when he took part in the bombardment.

She said: ‘He must have had a rough time because he would never talk about that. We know he got sunk twice.’

As reported, the commemoration will be held on the Hardway foreshore, in Gosport.

It is where, 70 years ago, thousands of men left for D-Day.

The parade will be led by the Horndean Band, stepping off from Hardway slipway car park at 10am for the service at 10.15am.

Councillor Roger Allen, who represents Hardway at Gosport Borough Council, said: ‘It’s extremely important that people who contribute to the borough are recognised.’

The pair have also created two plaques for the stone at their firm in Gosport.

 

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