Convoy of Royal Navy vessels accompany Brittany Ferry taking D-Day veterans to France

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A ferry carrying D-Day veterans to France for the 80th anniversary commemorations has set sail from Portsmouth.

The Jedburgh Pipe Band is also playing the ferry out of the harbour where members of the public have gathered to see the veterans off as they travel to Caen.

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(left to right) Royal Navy Commander Glen Hickson, D-Day veteran Jim Grant, and Royal Navy Commodore John Voyce, on board the Brittany Ferries ship Mont St Michel as prepares to sail from Portsmouth Harbour in the UK to Ouistreham, in Caen, France, carrying 31 D-Day and Normandy veterans who are travelling with the Royal British Legion and Spirit of Normandy Trust to take part in commemorations to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day.
Picture credit: Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire(left to right) Royal Navy Commander Glen Hickson, D-Day veteran Jim Grant, and Royal Navy Commodore John Voyce, on board the Brittany Ferries ship Mont St Michel as prepares to sail from Portsmouth Harbour in the UK to Ouistreham, in Caen, France, carrying 31 D-Day and Normandy veterans who are travelling with the Royal British Legion and Spirit of Normandy Trust to take part in commemorations to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day.
Picture credit: Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire
(left to right) Royal Navy Commander Glen Hickson, D-Day veteran Jim Grant, and Royal Navy Commodore John Voyce, on board the Brittany Ferries ship Mont St Michel as prepares to sail from Portsmouth Harbour in the UK to Ouistreham, in Caen, France, carrying 31 D-Day and Normandy veterans who are travelling with the Royal British Legion and Spirit of Normandy Trust to take part in commemorations to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Picture credit: Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire | Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire

A MoD spokesman said: “The veterans, travelling with The Spirit of Normandy Trust and the Royal British Legion, will carry with them a commemorative torch from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission which will form the centrepiece of the vigil at Bayeux War Cemetery on 5 June.

“A young person will pass this symbolic torch to a veteran before they board the ferry. At 1300 (ship’s time), a wreath-laying will take place on the ferry to remember those who never made it to shore.”

Mark Atkinson, the Royal British Legion’s director general, said it was a “momentous occasion”. He said: “The veterans are remarkably sprightly, they’re up and about and engaged.

“There were a lot of mixed emotions as you’d imagine but a lot of people are really excited to be going back.

“It’s an opportunity for them to pay their respects and remember the fallen.”

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