COACH firm Lucketts Travel has been thanked by Second World War veterans after helping the men to pay tribute to their fallen colleagues.
The veterans, all aged in their 90s, wanted to visit Arnhem for the 73rd anniversary of Operation Market Garden and Lucketts, based in Fareham, stepped in to provide the group with a mini-bus for their trip.
The vehicle was donated to the eight veterans and their carers so that they could visit cemeteries, lay wreaths at the Oosterbeek Memorial Service and put a cross on all 199 unknown graves at Jonkebos CWGC Cemetery.
On their trip, the group visited the Hartenstein Airborne Museum, Arnhem and Nijmegan bridges and took part in ‘The Race to the Bridge’ in wartime vehicles.
The event was organised by Project 71, a voluntary organisation. Member and Lucketts driver Peter Burgess drove the group on their trip.
Managing director of Lucketts, Tony Lawman, a former Army Captain himself, said: ‘These brave men risked their lives for the freedom of our country. It’s our absolute pleasure to be able to help them revisit Arnhem and pay their respects.’
Veterans on the journey included Derrick Grubb, who served in the RAF and was shot down in Italy before being made a prisoner of war; Denis Hosgood, who fought in Normandy and Arnhem; Joe Sealey, who was injured in the Market Garden campaign; Royal Navy vets Mick Jennings and Ron Smith and Bob Gale, also from the Royal Navy, who was awarded the DSM for his part on D-Day.
Denis said: ‘The book of my life is coming to the end but to be able to do this courtesy of Lucketts and Project 71 is the most wonderful final chapter.
‘I can’t thank you all enough, this means so much to us all.’